Plans to build a new base for the Orange Conservatorium of Music which incorporates a new planetarium have been considered by Orange City Council and released for community comment.
Orange mayor John Davis OAM said he’s pleased to see progress on this long-running project.
“I’m delighted to see these exciting concept plans but at this early stage it’s now an opportunity for community to have their say,” Cr John Davis said. “It’s also at a stage where it lets us see what could happen on that site, and we’ll still have to weigh it up against other priorities.”   “It’s the kind of project that will rely on a lot of support from other layers of government, but these concept plans bring it to a stage where we can now start to seek funding. 
“These plans have come after a lot of research and consultation with interested parties, but it’s now also important that we hear from the wider community to tap into their expertise.”
Orange Conservatorium Board chair Cr Russell Turner said the project would be major boost for the Orange community.
“Organizations like the conservatorium have a significant influence on the cultural life of our community in Orange,” Cr Russell Turner said. “Whether it’s developing a level of excellence in local music tuition or simply a key part of the cultural mix that attracts families to want to live, work and raise children here. A conservatorium offers so much.”
Conservatorium Director Donna Riles said the new building has been designed to give the organisation space to grow.
“The new building would have a 250 seat auditorium and around 30 teaching rooms,” Donna Riles said. “That size has is based on what we’re currently doing now with a moderate amount of growth for the future.

“We’re currently teaching hundreds of children and adults most weeks with a range of one-on-one and group learning situations in bands and orchestras. This new building would let us do more into the future and avoid the pressure that exists on our current facilities.”
Orange Planetarium Vice President Nat Burgio said that the Planetarium will enhance the multifunctionality of the facility and promote science education and innovation. 
“As well as the obvious tourism potential, the planetarium would add another layer to the educational options for local children who already visit facilities like the museum, the gallery and the library,” Nat Burgio said.
The concept plans show a 2-storey building alongside March Street on the northern end of the northcourt area behind the Library-Gallery building.
The building includes :  A 250-seat auditorium  A number of larger teaching spaces, including six piano-equipped teaching areas  Around 30 smaller music studios  A dedicated 70-seat planetarium area including an 11m dome for virtual simulations of Astronomy and General Science, along with a display area and a gift shop
Orange City Council has allocated $1.5 million in its current budget towards a planetarium project. It’s expected the proceeds of the sale of the current site of the conservatorium in Hill St would also go towards the project. The project would need significant government funding for it to go ahead.
The concept plans are the work of Sydney architectural firm Brewster Hjorth
In due course, the next stage would be detailed plans, before a DA is prepared.