St. Maarten based Architect says Performing Arts facility will enhance the lives of Nevisians
Architect of IXI Designs based in St. Maarten Mr. John Baker, in his overview of a multimillion dollar Performing Arts and Conference Centre at Pinneys Estate, described the facility as one which would ultimately contribute to the social, cultural and educational experience of Nevisians and its visitors.
“It will eventually comprise of a multi use theatre with a sitting capacity of about 400 people that will house an array of theatrical performances and events from dance recitals to drama even to school graduations. Secondly, a multi functional courtyard space capable of housing additional theatrical performances such as fashion shows, recitals, art exhibitions or meetings.
“There will also be a conference centre containing three conference rooms with a total seating capacity of up to 180 persons; two additional multi use indoor spaces to facilitate dance and band practise together with all the necessary ancillary amenities bathrooms and kitchenettes and so on,” he said.
According to Mr. Baker, all the interior and exterior spaces of the facility were conceived to be multi service arenas for the staging of a range of programmes and events which include art shows, musical performances, banquets, school graduations, fund raising events, meetings and conferences.
In his brief history of the project Mr. Baker explained that dated back four years to March 2006 when the Taiwanese government offered to make funding available for the building of a cultural centre in Nevis.
Notwithstanding, he said though many parameters had changed since the conception of the Nevis Performing Arts and Conference Centre the commitment of the major players had remained unwavering.
“It is presently the shared intention of the Nevisian Government, the Taiwanese Government, the contractor and the design team to see the people of Nevis enjoying various forms of performances and cultural activities within the walls of NEAC’s theatre and courtyard spaces before the end of this calendar year,” he said.
IXI Design was first approach shortly thereafter by the then government and in the midst of attempting to determine the design criteria, there was a change in the government.
“Fortunately however, not only did the present government share the idea of cultural development of the nation would be greatly advanced by this project, they have also maintained seeing the project through to fruition within this administration is a major priority,” he said.
In early 2007 IXI Design was officially appointed as architects for the project and sometime later a site was selected. Mr. Barker said since then his firm had worked closely with various officials, with Culture Minister Hon. Hensley Daniel and Culture Advisor Mr. Halsted Byron and Ms. Ester Brookes to refine the concept of the design of the project.
By the close of 2007 along with a carefully selected design team they were able to start construction drawings. He said IXI Design Architects had worked closely with local architects and structural engineers Nicholas Brisbane and Associates from St. Kitts and his team and a well noted firm of mechanical and electrical engineers from Trinidad known as Engineering Consultants (ENCO).
In 2008 construction documentation which consists of about 150 drawings together with written specifications were prepared and completed.
“By the beginning of 2009 we were able to begin the bidding process and after much negotiation and rigorous scrutiny by ourselves and the Government of Nevis, we were finally able to select and agree on the terms of the construction contract for NEPAC with Surry Paving and Aggregate.
“Today we are signing the contract between the government and the contract to start the immediate construction of Phase I which will be the theatre, court yard and ancillary facilities. We hope the second phase will follow shortly after that,” he said.