Esperance Civic Centre to reopen to full house

Those attending the highly-anticipating ‘Celtic Illusion’ show on Wednesday, November 7, will be some of the first to experience the newly renovated Esperance Civic Centre as it reopens to a full house.

Shire of Esperance chief executive officer Matthew Scott said the renovation had modernised the building and the shire had already received positive feedback.

“The Civic Centre was in need of maintenance and freshening up, the brickwork was tired and dated and the need to modernise the building was to ensure we can continue to attract quality productions to our town,” he said.

“The auditorium and the Foyer both look fantastic and we have received some positive feedback from community members who have already been inside.”

A total of $418,000 was allocated for the structure for the 2018/19 financial year, with maintenance to be undertaken on the auditorium dance floor, external and internal painting of the foyer and auditorium walls as well as the installation of uplights and downlights.

The Esperance Ratepayers Association had raised a number of concerns regarding the rendering of the building’s interior and how it would affect the acoustics within the centre.

Association president Kaj Nieukerke said the building was a cherished auditorium with good acoustics and he was concerned by the potential impact of the works.

Former Shire president Merv Andre, who was on Council during the building's construction, also voiced his concerns at the Association meeting in October.

“When the centre was constructed, the council of the time were able to get expert advice from a consultant based in Sydney on the acoustics in the building,” he said.

“The unrendered bricks are part of the acoustics, the dimples on the ceiling – it’s all part of it.

“Once you’ve plastered those walls, you can’t undo it and that’s my concern.”

Mr Scott said the shire had engaged a consultant in acoustics and sound testing had been undertaken following the renovations.

“A consultant in acoustics was contacted and commented that as the absorption coefficient of brickwork and flush plasterboard are relatively similar to one another, if the brickwork is simply lined with flush plasterboard then there could be slightly more absorption in the lower frequencies, however we would expect minimal change to the existing internal room environment,” he said.

“Sound testing has been undertaken and the feedback from staff is everything sounds great.

“The sound from the speakers travels in the same direction as the flared side walls and the rendering will make no alteration to the acoustics of the room.

“The rear wall of the auditorium has not been altered; this consists of jarrah slates with an acoustic foam padding.

“This is designed to absorb the sound at the rear of the auditorium, minimising any reflection or slap back of sound from the stage.”