Built in 1911, Alton Coronation Hall is located 20 minutes south of Hawera in South Taranaki. A renovation means the hall will be fit for purpose well into the future.
The hall is run by a committee of ten volunteers. Jacq Dwyer, Secretary and Treasurer of the Committee, said small rural halls are important. “It’s a beautiful old hall and it’s an integral part of our community. Alton Hall is used by many different organisations, including the wrestling club, which has been using it since 1946.”
“But we needed to renovate the hall. The toilets were unsatisfactory, and we didn’t have wheelchair access. The kitchen was behind the stage, so it was difficult for elderly people to get up the stairs to it.”
Toi Foundation provided funding of $40k to assist with the costs to upgrade the hall. “The grant has meant that we can make our hall fit for purpose for the next 50 years," Jacq said.
The renovation project cost about $400k, including earthquake strengthening. The improvements included a wheelchair ramp, accessible toilets and a new kitchen on the ground floor. This has extended the space available for the stage. An outdoor area off the main hall was also constructed.
“We put in a deck and portico in the war memorial garden. It is accessible from the main hall through french doors. The outdoor space means we can almost double the capacity.”
“We hold an Anzac Day event in the hall every year. This year, there were 300 people there," Jacq said.
"All the renovations have been done to a really high standard in keeping with the heritage features. The hall has wheelchair access and it’s beautiful and functional. It’s a central spot in our community.”