Orange will boast one of the best music education and cultural hubs anywhere in Australia, with a massive multi-million dollar injection from Orange City Council set to help turn a dream into a reality.
The new Orange Regional Conservatorium of Music and Planetarium will be among the best in the country following an $18.5 million commitment from council to cover a shortfall in grants.
It's the single biggest contribution Orange council has made to a project, mayor Jason Hamling confirmed.
The move was signed off on at Tuesday night's council meeting, where the matter was discussed in closed council.
In May this year it was confirmed the project had received $10m funding from the Australian Government and $5m from the NSW Government, while Orange City Council was originally set to contribute $10m towards the development. That contribution has now almost doubled, but council's Conservatorium and Planetarium Community Committee chair Kevin Duffy says council is well positioned to cover that extra cost.
"We're now in a position where we can use a mix of property sales and borrowings to deliver a project like this, and still be in good financial shape," Cr Duffy said.
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Work to build a new home for the Orange Regional Conservatorium and Planetarium will likely commence in the coming months, council said.
The development, which will be built in the Civic Square North Court, off March Street, includes a 3535 square-metre building which will contain:
- A 250-seat auditorium
- A 64-seat planetarium auditorium
- 40 practice rooms, ensemble rooms and rehearsal spaces
- Front-of-house facilities including foyer, bar, kitchen, ticket office and amenities
- Back-of-house facilities comprising loading dock, stores, performer amenities and plant
- Office space, amenities and ancillary spaces
Those involved in the project are understandably thrilled.
The ORC Management Committee has long said the new conservatorium development is a key component in its mission to provide outstanding music education and cultural enrichment for the Orange community.
The committee believes construction of a cutting-edge, multi-million-dollar facility will elevate the ORC to "a preeminent status within Australia's Regional Conservatoria".
Chair of the ORC Management Committee, Pam Ryan said the decision represents an enormous leap forward for the city's vibrant community.
"It will further strengthen our highly successful programs, ensuring that we continue to nurture and inspire the next generation of musicians," she said.
ORC Director Donna Riles said the state-of-the-art building is not just a home for music.
"It is a testament to the power of collaboration and the belief in the transformative potential of the arts. We are tremendously excited about the countless possibilities this new facility will unlock," she said.
A bumper fundraising effort from the Orange community has already rallied to support the project, raising $900,000. The target is $1.5m to enable a quality fit-out of the new facility.
Part of the vote to back the project in his first meeting back in the mayoral chair after extended leave, Cr Hamling said he is proud council decided to support a project of this scale.
He believes the benefits will be felt for decades into the future.
"This is the biggest contribution that Council has made to a single project," Cr Hamling said.
"That's a sign of how important this project is to the community of Orange. It really is an inter-generational project that will help shape the culture of Orange into the future."
The new conservatorium will be an education facility with the ability to support more than 1400 enrolments and students aged from one and into their 80s.
Renascent Australia is confirmed as the preferred constructor.
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