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Completion of the upgrade of the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music premises – which includes a state-of-the-art 77-seat performance space – is one step closer, thanks to a major funding boost from the NSW State Government.

Claire Braund, President of the Conservatorium, said the grant of $247,599 announced by Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast and Member for Terrigal Adam Crouch on Wednesday 1 February, was going to be a game-changer in terms of being able to better customise teaching and performance spaces for students and audiences alike.

“This timely funding will enable us to capitalise on the extensive 3-year $2.4million renovation and upgrade that has taken place at our historic premises at 45 Mann Street. The additional funds will give us capacity to complete the upgrade of the Robert Knox Hall and refurbish some of our older buildings and classrooms,” said Claire.

The grant has been awarded as part of the NSW Government’s $72m Creative Capital program funding, available to not-for-profit organisations to support creative cultural infrastructure projects. The funding will deliver Stage 2 renovations of the Central Coast Conservatorium’s premises and complement the Stage 1 renovations to the heritage-listed building at 45 Mann Street. 

The sensitive refurbishment includes transformations and upgrades to the interior structure of the building – the oldest heritage building in Gosford – with an impressive and inviting new front entrance and lobby area, upgrades to the building’s teaching and rehearsal spaces as well as new bathrooms and administration areas, and improved disabled access from the rear of the Conservatorium building on Georgiana Terrace.

The building has also been given new roofing and flooring in some areas as well as interior upgrades, while the sandstone wall at the Mann St entrance has also been painstakingly restored.

The Robert Knox Hall makeover already includes the installation of fixed tiered seating, including disability seating, for 77 people. The extra funding will go towards the purchase and installation of essential audio/visual and digital equipment for the hall.

“The additional grant will give us the money we need to put the finishing touches to what has been a significant project in the COVID years,” said Claire Braund. “In addition, the refurbishment of Robert Knox Hall together with its technology upgrade make the hall a significant community asset, enabling performances, lectures, meetings and other gatherings both for the Conservatorium and other community groups.”

Where the grant will be spent on a range of projects including:

  • Purchase and installation of essential digital equipment for Robert Knox Hall, including installation of a WiFi enabled system to control a sound desk, speakers, projector, screen, lighting and recording equipment together with blinds for the windows.
  • Partitioning of a large demountable (12×6.75m) and acoustic treatment to create three studios suitable for strings tuition
  • Acoustic treatment of the garage, used as a percussion studio
  • Construction of a non-permanent building structure for tuition purposes.