A bad seismological report has closed the Catholic center of the Archdiocese of Wellington.

The Centre’s management claims that in a detailed seismic assessment report published in February, some of the Centre’s key structural elements are assessed at only 20 percent of the new building’s standards.

An expert review of the engineer’s report was conducted, so decisions can be made about the future of the building.

At this stage, options will include whether to re-strengthen the building, demolish and rebuild, or demolish and rebuild a section of Hill Street.

Dexterous and flexible

The Archdiocesan Center is the core of Cardinal John Dew and a number of diocesan tenants from several national church offices.

“Once the peer review is received, we will be able to decide whether to strengthen the Catholic Center and one day we can return there, or our exit from the Center should be permanent,” said the General Archdiocesan Center. Manager John Prendergast.

“However, whatever decision is ultimately made, it is very likely that we will need to stay in alternative housing for at least the next 12-24 months.”

Concluding new arrangements “gives us the opportunity to be agile and flexible and rethink the way we work in response to a challenge”.

Prendergast says there are now two options for relocating the center.

One of them is the “all together” model. This would identify an office space in one place where all the staff of the archdiocese and possibly all the staff of the tenant could be located.

Another option is a “distributed” model, where the archdiocese staff and tenants will be housed in groups, but in separate rooms.

The project is stronger

The report surprised some because after the earthquake in Christchurch, the archdiocese in 2012 initiated the Stronger Project, an evaluation process that determined which of the archdiocese’s buildings were under threat.

With a cost of more than $ 3 million just to complete the appraisal and decide to renovate 25 churches, 4 halls and 7 presbyteries were valued at less than 34 percent of the national building standard.

In 2014, a team of international experts began researching New Zealand churches to determine which ones are most vulnerable to earthquakes.

In February 2014, David Malin of Project Stronger told Stuff that their study found buildings that did not meet current standards.

In July 2018, the adjacent Metropolitan Cathedral of the Sacred Heart was classified as earthquake-prone and closed for security reasons.

In August 2020, work began on strengthening and restoring the cathedral. More than $ 11 million has now been secured out of the $ 16.5 million needed to complete the project, with the remaining $ 5.5 million underway.


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