Locals call for Phuket’s historic Provincial Hall to become a center for arts and culture

Locals call for Phuket’s historic Provincial Hall to become a center for arts and culture

PHUKET: A community group in Phuket Town has submitted a formal request for the 115-year-old Phuket Provincial Hall building on Narisorn Rd to be transformed into an arts and culture center.

Chan Wongsattayanon, chairman of the executive committee of the Phuket Citizens’ Council, delivered the formal proposal to Governor Narong Woonciew earlier today (February 14).

Chan said the Phuket Citizens’ Council conducted a public opinion survey from Dec. 25 to Jan. 31, collecting feedback from 783 respondents.

The majority, 77.4%, agreed with the idea, Chan said.

Only 4.5% of respondents disagreed, while 18.1% said they did not have enough information to form an opinion, he added.

When surveyed, respondents saw what the arts and culture center would like through paintings by Phuket artist Watcharin Rodnit, a member of the Phuket Citizens Council, Chan added.

Governor Narong said he was happy to accept the proposal and was ready to support the idea.

“However, it must be planned as best as possible for the benefit of all parties,” Governor Narong said.

“Connecting tourism and culture is what Phuket is all about. We want to make this aspect become a reality, especially to promote tourism coupled with driving unique forces under the concept of “buildings, food and clothing” to be a selling point and create lasting pride in the Phuket identity,” he said.

The move follows the opening of the 450 million baht “New Phuket Provincial Hall”, located on Tha Kraeng Rd near Rama IX (Suan Luang) Park, late last year.

A blessing ceremony for the new building took place in November. At that time, about 20 government agencies started operating from the new site on October 1, with about 486 government officials and employees currently working there.

Meanwhile, the old building on Narisorn Rd continues to be referred to as the “(old) Phuket Provincial Hall”, with some government agencies still occupying offices there.

The old building was built during the years 1907-1913, while Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi, better known as Khaw Simbee Na Ranong, was governor of Monthon Phuket, which at that time included all the Andaman provinces of Ranong to Satun.

It should be noted that local officials refer to the age of the building since construction began, not when construction was completed.

His Majesty King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) proclaimed “Phuket Town Hall” open during his second visit to Phuket on April 22, 1917.

The Fine Arts Department of the Ministry of Culture had the building declared a protected historic site by a proclamation in the Official Journal on May 10, 1977.

The classic ‘colonial style’ building was featured as the French Embassy in Phnom Penh in the 1984 British biographical drama ‘The Killing Fields’ about the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia.

The public relations department itself described the building as “colonial architecture, designed and its construction supervised by an Italian craftsman”.

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