News about the Museum
Progress with Refurbishment of Brecknock Museum & Art Gallery
The current work on site to develop the new Cultural Hub Brecon (CHB) including the refurbishment of the Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery started in August 2016. This followed the Launch Event with the local community in July 2016 organised by Powys CC as lead funder and BS&MF. (Further background on the planning and funding of the Cultural Hub Brecon Project can be found here.)
The Powys CC team For all the construction and refurbishment works on the CHB Project, Powys CC has a contract with Kier Construction Ltd as lead contractor and they bring in a range of specialist subcontractors as work proceeds. Others in the Powys CC project team are consulting engineers Jacobs and Swansea-based architects Powell Dobson. Project Manager for Powys CC is Lucy Bevan (Arts & Culture Commissioning Officer) and the Construction Project Manager is Matthew Robinson through Powys CC's Heart of Wales Property Services Ltd. Nigel Blackamore as Powys CC's Senior Curator with his staff and volunteers are currently based at Watton Mount, opposite the Shire Hall, where work continues on preparing and cataloguing the museum's collections and keeping other museum-related activities going.
BS&MF liaison with Powys CC The Powys CC project team meets regularly with the BS&MF and Brecknock Art Trust as local funding partners. Mervyn Bramley together with John Gibbs as BS&MF Chair takes the BS&MF's lead for the BCH Project. The BS&MF is also currently involved on the BCH Project's Fundraising Group and its broadly-based Stakeholder Group.
Progress and programme The preparatory work on site with stripping out the Shire Hall and demolishing New County Hall and the Old Police Station revealed some unexpected conditions - particularly with asbestos in 1970s modifications in the Shire Hall and the very poor condition of the listed Boundary Wall. Dealing with these as well as fabrication issues with the new library's complex steel frame have delayed the original construction programme. The current plan is for the Cultural Hub complex (i.e. the refurbished Shire Hall and the new Library building and interconnecting Atrium) to be handed over for fit out in Spring 2018. Two specialist firms have been awarded contracts for planning the fit-out - DesignMap for the Museum & Art Gallery and Atrium area, and Opening the Book for the Library. The Cultural Hub complex is currently due to open to the public in Autumn 2018 and the search is now on for a fitting name.
Community engagement In June 2017, Kier Construction and Powys CC assisted by BS&MF and other project partners held a well-attended Community Event on site and in the existing Town Library. This gave the local community a good opportunity to meet the project team and partners and share views on the project. Due to the delays in the construction programme, there was relatively little new construction other than foundations to see on site. A further community event is to be arranged for October 2017 when the steel frame will be complete and access to parts of the Shire Hall should be possible.
Future operation As completion of the refurbished Museum & Art Gallery approaches, the future operational arrangements for the Cultural Hub involving Powys CC staff, some contract staff (for example in the café) and volunteers will be developed. Both the BS&MF and the Brecknock Art Trust expect to be involved in this planning as local funding partners. There is a meeting on the renovated Brecknock Museum & Art Gallery in the BS&MF programme on Friday October 13. This will be an opportunity to learn about the interior features and galleries and to discuss the Society's and individual member's involvement in the future operation.