Skopje, 15th March 2013 (MIA) – Universal Hall will not be reconstructed, new hall will be built instead. New facility instead of reconstructing the old one is a decision reached by the Government due to the dilapidation of the almost 50 year-old Universal Hall, which cannot withhold extension as it is necessary, and so as to increase the capacity of the seats by twice, now amounting to 1.500, Ministry of Culture will start the preparations for design competition after the local elections end.

– After comprehensive analysis of experts, it was also determined at the Faculty of Civil Engineering that reconstruction of Universal Hall will not solve certain important questions as regards the functionality of the facility, the administration and the ferroconcrete construction of the facility. Analyses showed that if during the reconstruction, there is increase in the quantity of the steel and concrete construction, the facility will not be able to withhold the weight since it was built 47 years ago. Such additional quantities of armature and concrete, according to the general parameters may be put on facilities old up to 50 years. In addition, if there is reconstruction, it will not be possible for the number of seats in the hall to increase, which according to the needs is planned to range between 2,500 and 3,000, Minister Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska said, visiting the Universal Hall together with the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Zoran Stavreski and the Mayor of Skopje Koce Trajanovski.

Construction of new facility at the location of the existing Universal Hall, she said, will also solve the problem with the administrative space of this public institution, which if being reconstruction would undergo extension outside the facility. Under the new construction, there will be also solution as regards the parking, which will be within the facility itself under the new project, rather than out of it, as it is now and which would remain the same if reconstruction is carried out. According to the calculations of the designers, the reconstruction would cost up to EUR 11 million, and the construction will be more expensive by 20% to 30%.

Ministry of Culture will cover the costs for the competition and the design process from this year’s Budget, after which, tender will be published at the end of the year. Facility will be built in the coming years. Deadline is not precisely determined since the concert halls have specific interior design as a result of the scene technology and acoustics.

Vice Prime Minister Zoran Stavreski said that the according to the Budget projection, there will be funds for construction of new facility.

– This will be envisaged in the Budgets for the next two-three years. It is a matter of multi-annual project and in line with the fiscal strategy and the projections for the budget revenues and the economy growth in the next years, we made detailed analysis and we assessed that the Budget of the Republic of Macedonia will have sufficient funds for realizing this significant capital project to the benefit of the citizens of Skopje and the Republic of Macedonia. Budget of the Ministry of Culture has funds for commencement of the project documentation, as well as for preparation of the overall documentation for this year. During the next years, in line with the overall estimate, we will carry out dynamic distribution by years, as it is necessary and as we can allocate every year, so as for the Project to be realized within the shortest possible deadline, Stavreski said.

Government’s decision on construction of new facility for the Universal Hall was welcomed by the Mayor of the City of Skopje, under which competence is this culture-related institution. – This is very significant for Skopje, since this facility can no longer satisfy the needs of the city for manifestations, being planned therein, Trajanovski said.

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