Work is expected to start within 12 months on Orange's $20 million conservatorium and planetarium project.
Orange mayor Cr Reg Kidd said once planning and tendering was completed he was hopeful of an August 2022 start on the work in the Northcourt area.
Orange City Council has just awarded a $933,000 contract to architectural firm Brewster Hjorth to produce detailed design plans for the project in March Street.
The concept plans are already at a very advanced stageCr Reg Kidd, Orange mayor
Cr Kidd said they were planning a 250-seat specialist music performance space, another 74-seat auditorium for a planetarium and 40 teaching studios.
There will be a 'living-green wall' around the building to integrate landscaping into the design.
"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," he said.
"The concept plans are already at a very advanced stage thanks to years of work and consultation with the community.
"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."
The federal government has committed $10 million to the project while the council has allocated $5 million, including funds from the sale of the existing conservatorium site in Hill Street to the project.
However, requests to the state government for the outstanding $5 million have been unsuccessful.
Council has committed to provide the shortfall from its funds if other funding avenues fail to eventuate.
Former conservatorium committee chair Cr Russell Turner said it would become an asset to the city.
"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," he 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."
The project received planning approval from the Western Region Planning Panel last December.
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