Community centre close

Presbyterians break old ground

The builders of Te Awamutu’s planned Presbyterian Community Centre have broken old ground with a soil turning ceremony. They broke the soil on Wednesday lat week on land once occupied by the earthquake prone St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Mutu St. The denomination is building a $3.3 million 759sq m community centre with a 150-seat auditorium. Core Steel Buildings expects to complete the project in March 2025.

4 July 8am

Construction of a $3.3 million community centre is about to start on land once occupied by St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Mutu St.

The Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand Property Trustees in Wellington were expected to sign a contract with Core Steel Buildings in Te Awamutu this week. The contract will enable the project to start with the erection of protective fencing on July 8.

Ray Miller, Jamie Budd, and the Rev Ron Bennett review plans for Te Awamutu Presbyterian Community Centre.

The demolition of the church office is all that remains.

“It’s been quite a journey,” said project convenor Ray Miller.

The project has been underway since the demolition of the earthquake prone Hinuera stone church – the denomination’s third in the area – in 2015. The first church was built on Brady St in 1872, the second on the corner of Aexandra St and Mutu St in 1918 and the third in Mutu St in 1960.

The congregation continued to meet in the small chapel following the demolition of the church, with the campus continuing to host community groups in its meeting room and hall, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Te Awamutu Dance School.

The project originally envisaged a 1086 sq metre building, but a two-year delay caused by Covid-19 and the rising costs of building material resulted in plans for a smaller 756sq metre building.

“The whole thing is community focussed,” Miller said. “This facility will be available to the community all the time.”

Te Awamutu Presbyterian Community Centre will have a 150-seat auditorium with a stage with two adjoining function centre rooms which can be opened to expand the auditorium.

Three counselling and meeting rooms are being included at the request of Waipā District Council.

It also has an office, kitchen, bathrooms, and storage.

The project is being funded by the sale of the parish manse and community donations including grants.

“I am quite excited now,” said Miller. “I have been working on this project for seven years.”

The Rev Ron Bennett and community worker Jamie Budd shared in Miller’s excitement.

“It’s going to be exciting to see an up to date, modern facility completed,” Budd said. “It’s going to be fantastic for the community.”

The centre is expected to open in March 2025.


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