Continue to provide operational support (with additional staff) to keep the Faraday Centre open until a decision is made about our continued involvement.
This requires an additional $291,000 per year funded from rates, bringing the total operational funding to just on $340,000 per year.
We propose to keep the $2.3 million in the budget for the building for now.
The process could take a year but would allow the centre to continue to provide a unique experience to visitors and residents, and further develop its collection and services.
Close the centre until a decision is made about our continued involvement. This would save staff costs but some operating costs would remain (e.g. insurance, security etc) and there may be costs associated with the closing of the centre itself. While there may be short-term cost savings, a closure of the centre could negatively impact the community in other ways. The centre provides an interactive, indoor educational opportunity for children and adults, and a place for locals to share their expertise and time through volunteering. It also provides paid employment to five local people. We would continue to hold the $2.3 million for a potential re-opening.
The cost to close the centre would be approximately $30,000, with costs to retain the building and collection being around $10,000 per annum.
The Faraday Centre is Napier’s specialised interactive technology museum. It began in 1979 and in 1993 merged with the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust.
From the outset, the Faraday Centre has been managed by an enthusiastic group of volunteers who have looked after and added to its collection of machines, gadgets, appliances and equipment, sharing it all with residents and visitors to Napier.
In 2019, it became apparent that the Faraday Centre could not sustain itself by relying on volunteers alone, particularly given its increasing popularity. We completed a review of the operations and supported a small team of paid staff to work alongside the volunteers, and this small team became responsible for the day-to-day operations of the centre.
This meant we could increase the hours of operation while also promoting the centre more widely. Since then, visitor numbers have increased.
The building the Faraday Centre occupies is leased by the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust for a very low cost. The building has been assessed as ‘earthquake-prone’ and needs to be strengthened. There has been little spent on the building over the years and even without the need for strengthening, it is in need of an upgrade to make it function safely and more effectively for staff and volunteers, visitors and the collection itself. Making these improvements would also allow us the opportunity to offer education programmes and school visits.
To make good decisions around the level of involvement we should have, and the investment we should make in the centre (which could require us to purchase and upgrade the building), we have started a business case. The business case investigates operating and governance models as well as location options and the report is expected any time.
We have set aside $2.3 million from our building reserves to buy and upgrade the existing building if that is what is supported by the business case.
While we consider our involvement in the Faraday Centre going forward, we have two options - we can either stay open while we consider our decision or we can close until a decision is made.
To find out more about the Faraday Centre, visit - Faraday Centre
For more information download the Faraday Business Case.
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