Arts Centre still at design stage

Thursday, 2 November 2017

NO date has been set for work to begin on the long awaited Tullamore Arts Centre and the Tribune can confirm the project is still at design stage.

This week, Chairman of the Arts Centre board, Des Doyle revealed a lot more money will have to be raised before the development finally becomes a reality.

The selected design has now been handed to a quantity surveyor to establish how much the development will cost.

''Once we have the plan approved by the board, once we know the estimated figures, then we will be at liberty to discuss the fundraising. We still have to go out and look for a contractor,'' he said.

It was in 2011 that the community raised €180,000 for an Arts Centre in Tullamore through a 2000 Club Members Draw.

At that time the €100 tickets which were purchased by many stated: '' It's hard to believe a Community Arts Centre which was a distant dream is now very close to becoming a reality.''

The Council provided a site at Kilbride Plaza, a design was drawn up and unveiled at a function at the Court Hotel and €2m of Government funding was ring-fenced for the project.

However, work never began at Kilbride Street as soaring costs made it impossible to stay within the €3 million budget.

At the time Cllr Tommy McKeigue said it could have cost between €4.5 million and €5 million which ''wasn't viable.''

In 2015 the board of the Arts Centre agreed to purchase the former Kilroy's store for €405,000. This proved a very popular decision with the people of the town and preliminary sketches were drawn up.

This week, Chairman of the Arts Centre Board, Des Doyle said architects Kenny Lyons came back to the board with three design options. A special committee was set up and one design was selected.

This design was shown to eight people involved in the arts in Tullamore and according to Mr Doyle some good ideas were expressed by this group.

Kenny Lyons has now handed the design to a quantity surveyor who will establish how much it will cost.

''Kenny Lyons will be back within a number of weeks. A lot more money will have to be raised,'' said Mr Doyle.

However, he said he wasn't at liberty to say how the extra funding will be raised.

A Dublin team of architects, A2 came up with the original design for the centre on the Kilbride Street site. It's not known how much that design cost or if any of it will be incorporated into the new design.

The Kilroy's building will require extensive redevelopment for conversion to an Arts Centre, the centrepiece of which will be a 250-seat auditorium.


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