Remedial work on one of Napier’s key tourist attractions could continue to disrupt visitors until midway through the year.
Doors to the MTG Hawke’s Bay and Napier Library suddenly shut before Christmas, and visitors were not expected to be browsing books until at least the end of March, with a date not officially set for the museum re-opening.
Napier City Council temporarily closed the building on December 23, after urgent remedial work revealed its sprinkler systems posed a risk to staff and customers.
Pipe work was at risk of falling from the ceiling, in the case of a seismic event or in a situation where force was applied, for example if the sprinkler system was to be discharged.
MTG Hawke’s Bay Director Laura Vodanovich said extra time and care was required for museum exhibits to be removed and reinstalled after work was finished, which meant a date could not yet be determined.
“It’s important to note that work on the rooms occupied by museum exhibits is likely to take longer than the work needed in the library, due to the confined working spaces and amount of scaffolding required,” she said.
“Work will continue until mid-2021 on areas of the building that are not accessible to the public. Museum and library customers will need to be aware that there will be noise and disruption as work continues in the non-public areas of the building.”
The Century Theatre was first to be finished, and re-opened again this week, Napier Library was set to be functional by the end of March, but the museum was a case of ‘watch this space’.
The project team were working hard to get publically accessible areas of the building open as soon as possible.
“The remaining parts of the building, where the museum and library are located, will remain closed for the time being as remedial work is carried out concurrently in both areas,” Ms Vodanovich said.
“We are currently anticipating that public areas of the library will be open by the end of March or early April.”
Access to the archives and offsite collections would be business as usual, and as of Monday (February 1) the Century Theatre foyer would be used as a pop-up retail space for the museum from 9.30am to 5pm, seven days a week.
The foyer would also serve as a space for library users to collect reserved items and drop off returns, with staff on hand to assist customers.
Ms Vodanovich said the team would continue to provide information as work progressed and acknowledged people for their understanding, while MTG’s doors remained closed.
“Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time, we will continue to update you as the project progresses,” she said.