Councillors need to find extra £1.7m as costs soar at Adam Smith Theatre refurbishment

Councillors face a key decision on how to fund a major refurbishment programme at Kirkcaldy’s Adam Smith Theatre after costs soared by £1.7m

Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 8:40 am

The three-year project is already underway - but the pandemic, Brexit and rising energy costs have sent the final bill spiralling to £7.35m

Tomorrow (Thursday), the local authority’s policy and co-ordination committee will be asked to cover those additional costs.

The theatre is scheduled to open in March 2023 to host the 300th anniversary of the birth of Adam Smith - and a major festival is already being planned to cash in on the landmark anniversary.

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy

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And with a warning costs could still rise further, the committee has been warned of a real impact on the event and Fife Cultural Trust’s Spring 2023 programme if it falls behind schedule.

The historic theatre is being transformed into a key creative hub for Fife.

Phase one saw the auditorium given a complete overhaul, and workers have now moved on to start work on the foyer, changing almost everything about its lay out to incorporate a new performing arts space, moving the cafe, and bringing the box office front and centre of the space.

The Beveridge Suite is also scheduled to be upgraded.

Behind the scenes, the closure ha also allowed electrics to be upgraded, rot tackled, stonework replaced and insulation upgraded to cap energy bills.

The committee will face two options.

It can agree to increase the budget or carry out “a full value engineering exercise” of phase three works and prioritise where the budget should be spent.

In a report to councillors, Paul Vaughan, head of communities and neighbourhoods said construction costs hit a 40-year high in November.

He added: “Projects of this size and complexity would, even in normal times, face significant cost challenges.”

His report recommended covering the extra costs from money set aside to deal with Covid pressures.

The alternative would be to take it from the communities and neighbourhoods service budget of £4.8m for sports, leisure, and community facilities - but that, he warned, could have future consequences - including increased maintenance closures in other venues, or work being delayed elsewhere.