THE home of Orange’s new museum has to be a new building and be integrated with the art gallery, visitors centre and library in a bid to capitalise on the North Court’s reputation as a cultural precinct.
That’s the view of Cr Neil Jones, the Integrated Cultural Facility reference group chair.
Cr Jones said suggestions the council should purchase an existing building, such as the Bluestone Hall, now up for sale by owners the Anglican Diocese, to create a space for the museum had been ruled out.
“It definitely has to be a new facility,” Cr Jones said.
“The Bluestone Hall is quite unsuitable ... parking is an issue ... it’s a hotch-potch of offices”
Orange and District Historical Society President Phil Stevenson agreed.
“I think it’s size would be a problem,” he said.
Cr Jones said the Crown Lands building, on the corner of Kite and Anson Streets, “made more sense” than the Bluestone Hall as a venue for the museum.
But all stakeholders had agreed that a purpose-built facility was the way to go.
“Council has endorsed the museum building in the cultural precinct,” he said.
“What needs to be finalised is exactly where in the cultural precinct.”
He said any plans to increase the $5 million budget for the facility would need to be very carefully considered.
Mr Stevenson said the new building was expected to include a restaurant, and the central location would allow staff to be shared between the existing cultural facilities.
Members of the reference group were expected to finalise last minute details at a meeting last night, before opening up the tender process for the facility’s concept designs.
“I’m hoping for some really good, innovative ideas,” Mr Stevenson said.