It is time to have your say on the future design for the restoration of the much-loved Leys Institute at 20 St Marys Road, with consultation on two design options open until 1 December.
The Leys Institute buildings have been assessed as earthquake-prone and are in need of strengthening to bring the seismic risk down to an acceptable level. The buildings closed in December 2019 due to the safety risk they pose in the event of an earthquake.
Now Auckland Council and Waitematā Local Board are preparing to restore and modernise the buildings so that they will meet the needs of, and last, for generations to come.
Built by the Leys Trust in 1905 on land provided by the then Auckland City Council for the benefit of the local community, it was the first major public building in the expanding suburb of Ponsonby and is an important heritage public space to preserve.
Waitematā Local Board Chair Richard Northey encourages the community to get involved and give their feedback on the two design options.
“The Leys Institute is an important part of our community identity, as well as a much-loved library and community facility, and the restoration of it ensures the heritage building can serve the community well into the future.
“We have worked with mana whenua and a rōpū of community leaders, including representatives from Friends of Leys, Heritage NZ, local community associations, and the Ponsonby Community Centre to understand what is important to the community.
“This is an important project for our local area and we look forward to hearing from the community on what they would like to see.”
Unveiling the concept designs
We’ve developed two design options and are seeking feedback from the community.
Design one connects the separate library and gymnasium buildings by a three-level addition that opens the buildings to the courtyard and outside environment and includes heritage restoration and preservation.
There are new spaces for a community kitchen, an increased library space, and flexible bookable areas for local groups, community members and businesses.
This design enables full library and community service delivery from the day it opens and well into the future. However, it is expensive and will require more funding than is currently available.
We are looking at ways to fund the $3.2 million shortfall for this design. We want your views on how best to generate extra funding should this be the preferred option.
Design two is a smaller building extension, replacing and extending out the space of the existing 1938 Lending Library Room, while retaining the library and gymnasium as two separate buildings.
It is a lower cost option, based on the funding we have available now. However it does not enable heritage restoration for the original parts of the Leys Institute, and it will not be able to offer as many services and spaces for community, spaces will not be as flexible, and we will have to spend more again later to make it fit for our changing community.
Time to have your say
Consultation is open now until 1 December 2022.
Have your say online at https://akhaveyoursay.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/leys-institute
We’ll also have information at the Little Leys Library and Ponsonby Community Centre over October and November 2022, where you can view the designs and give your feedback on which of the designs you prefer, along with the funding options.