Scaffolding is being erected around the Alexandra Community Centre as upgrading work begins.

The Skird St landmark, made up of two connecting buildings housing the Alexandra Memorial Theatre, community hall and Alexandra Senior Citizens rooms, is about to get a $1.3 million makeover.

Central Otago property officer Tara Bates said a project to upgrade the theatre’s stage equipment had been extended to include earthquake strengthening of the entire building to 67% of the new Building Standard. The high level was needed as it was also a Civil Defence centre.

The upgrade would also bring the building’s fire and accessibility up to building standards and an external threephase power point connection for an emergency generator.

Combining the work provided cost savings and maximum potential for external funding, Ms Bates said.

‘‘The purpose of the project is to ensure that the Alexandra Memorial Theatre is up to standard in terms of current user and safety standards, and to provide a fit-for-purpose community Civil Defence centre in case of an emergency.’’

The total project cost is $1,350,000 with about $350,000 funded through grants from Central Lakes Trust, Otago Community Trust and lotteries, and around $585,000 from the Government Better Off Funding scheme, Ms Bates said.

Breen Construction would carry out the project in two stages so the hall and theatre would not be closed at the same time. Work on the hall will be carried out from Monday until November when work would start on the theatre. It was expected that it would be finished about March.

During the duration of the project some carparks will be fenced off behind the building off Thompson St and the carpark may be temporarily closed for short periods for crane work.