Milestone for conservatorium as architect design begins

Plans to build a new home for the Orange Regional Conservatorium have reached another milestone with work beginning by architectural firm Brewster Hjorth to create detailed designs for the building.

Orange City Council has awarded the $933,000 contract to produce detailed design plans for the conservatorium and planetarium to be built in March Street alongside the library and North Court area.

A concept image of the proposed Conservatorium and Planetarium

VENUE: A concept image of the proposed Conservatorium and Planetarium

The $20 million project received planning approval from the Western Region Planning Panel in December last year. The new plans will have the level of detail required to put the project out to tender for construction.

Orange Mayor Reg Kidd was pleased to see more progress.

“The sheer scale and complexity of a multi-faceted project like this, means it’s going to be a while before there are shovels in the ground but we’re on our way,” Cr Reg Kidd said. “We’re looking at a building that will include a 250-seat specialist music performance space, another 74-seat auditorium that will work as a planetarium and 40 teaching studios.

“The concept plans are already at a very advanced stage thanks to years of work and consultation with the community.”

It is expected Brewster Hjorth plans will be finished mid next year. Following a successful tender, works could start as soon as August 2022.

“This is going to be a building that’s going to be in use for generations, so we want to do the best we can. With more than 1400 enrolments this is already one of the biggest education

facilities in the city and this project will ensure there is room for growth into the second half of this century,” he said.

Former Conservatorium Committee chair Cr Russell Turner said he was pleased to serve on the council which made the decision to deliver the project.

“I know how long the community has been waiting for this to be built, and as I serve my last few months on Council, I’m delighted to have played a part in delivering a new conservatorium,” Cr Turner said. “The value of this project is huge for Orange. When someone is deciding whether to move here and open a new business, it’s our city’s rich cultural life that can make all the difference.”

A $10 million grant has been committed by the Australian Government and Orange City Council has allocated $5 million towards the project, including the proceeds of the future sale of the current conservatorium site in Hill Street. A recent Council meeting also decided to commit the remaining $5 million funding if other grant opportunities do not eventuate.

Orange Mayor Reg Kidd believes the conservatorium-planetarium would be an ideal project to gain funding support as part of the NSW Government’s efforts to stimulate the state’s economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposed project includes:

  • a 250-seat auditorium (with capacity built in for additional 48 seats or additional stage)
  • a 74-seat planetarium auditorium
  • 40 practice studios and rehearsal spaces
  • front and back of house facilities including main lobby, bar and kitchen
  • office space, amenities and ancillary spaces

The building also features a ‘living green wall’ that wraps around its perimeter integrating landscape into the building design.

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