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Police last action inside an abandoned theater in Central Hamilton

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Parsons King / Staff

Founders Theater, once a beacon of culture, now sits idle in the middle of Hamilton except for strange police training.

A theater that has been standing idle in Hamilton for the past four years due to health and safety issues is being used to train police.

The doors of the Founders’ Theater in Hamilton were closed in March 2016 due to safety concerns related to the theater fly system, fire, and other hazards. It has also been identified as an earthquake hazard.

But Hamilton City Council confirmed that police were still using the theater for training, including training dog handlers, said General Director of Places, Tourism and Major Events, Sean Murray.

He said the police were fully aware of the building’s seismic assessment, and had been using it for some time, even before the building was closed.

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“Other facilities are always available for them to use, if schedules allow.”

He said they had conducted various exercises in the theater and the next training held there was training of police dogs.

“The Founders Theater is the building’s unique design [allows] Police to conduct specialized training in a large location.

From the council’s point of view, he said they were always looking to help the police and other emergency response agencies to utilize their places for training purposes.

“It is in our interest that they do so.

The building is prone to earthquakes and closed for regular activities.

“However, since the training is done in short and infrequent periods, it is our policy that under these circumstances it allows us to give them access.”

Mark Taylor / Stuff

The Founders Theater District has been closed since March 2016 and could turn into a park in the future.

Police are not paying to use the place, which Murray said was appropriate given that the Board has relationships with the emergency services.

A police spokeswoman said they had obtained permission to use the building for specific training purposes when required.

The building risk management plan has been integrated into the training brief.

“The building was chosen because it is a large and empty place where the police can train without causing concern in the community.”

A discontinued theater will only get a second life if someone other than Hamilton City Council chooses the $ 12- $ 20 million tab to repair and operate.

The board’s aversion to keeping the 58-year-old theater in its current form is evident in a report outlining three options for the theater’s future.

These three potential contracts are either to demolish the theater and turn the site into a park; Demolishing the site into a multi-purpose community activity space; Or keeping at least part of the building, whose area is 8267 square meters, provided that those interested in taking over its management can fully finance it and restore it within three financial years.

Hamilton residents will be able to choose which of these options – or perhaps something entirely different – they prefer at the next round of public consultations, before the board makes a final decision on the fate of the founders.

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