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The site of the Ashburton District Council's new library and civic building.

Ashburton’s new library and civic centre project has been given an enormous boost, with MP Megan Woods announcing the Government will contribute $20 million from its Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund towards the $51.6 million facility.

Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown says the funding is an extraordinary amount of money that will make a significant difference for the project when construction gets under way in December.

“We are absolutely thrilled with today’s announcement. This is a tremendous boost for the district’s new library and civic centre and it’s fantastic that Mid Canterbury has been included in this package of shovel ready project funding.
“Twenty million dollars covers more than a third of the project costs which is a significant saving for our community. We commend the Government for investing in our region and helping to deliver important infrastructure for our people.”

It’s expected the project will create 500 jobs.
The council submitted the Ashburton Library and Civic Centre to the Government for funding consideration in April.

The building is being designed as a modern facility, with space for a children’s discovery centre, teen space, lounge and study areas, audio and video recording studio, and room for a small performance area with tiered seating.
The building will utilise environmentally sustainable elements and – in what is believed to be a first for the country – will also incorporate a heritage building (Pioneer Hall) into the facility.

Timber, which is a more sustainable material that also performs well in seismic activity will be one of the main building materials. Temperature will be controlled by an artesian well and chilled beam heating/cooling system that will also provide ongoing energy cost-saving benefits.
The new library and civic centre will also boast Importance Level (IL) 4 standards for the Civil Defence and Emergency Operations Centre, with the remainder of the facility built to IL 3 standards.

Detailed designs are in the process of being finalised, with construction at the Baring Square East site expected to start before the end of the year.

Minister Woods said libraries were at the heart of communities and played an important part in bringing people together.