Mosque with a ready-made morgue inside!
Two storeys, four minarets, and space for about 500 worshippers: a “landmark” mosque is under construction in Hamilton.
Worshippers at the Hamilton West Mosque currently pray in small prefab-style buildings along the side of the Frankton site, behind a house that could use a lick of paint.
That’s set to change when Mohammed Hassan’s vision is realised – and it’s under way.
“It will be a dream come true [when it opens],” he said. “I’m complete after this. Whatever happens to me, I’m not worried.”
“I intend to have this as a landmark building. You will never find one in New Zealand like this.”
Hassan is the president of the mosque, which runs under the banner of the New Zealand Muslim League.
The group bought the Bandon St site in 2000 and the plan was always to build a proper mosque on it, he said.
They moved in, grew their membership, and now the $2 million mosque plan is taking shape.
Mitchell Construction builders are on site, there are steel frames for the minaret towers, concrete blocks and timber framing, and work happening on the roof.
Hassan came up with an initial plan, something to stand the test of time, and took it to an architect, HBC, he said.
Standout features include four 10.5-metre minarets, two levels, and the mix of ideas he has taken from places such as Malaysia and Fiji.
“Initially my community, when I presented this, [said] oh, this is too big,” Hassan said. “I said, if we’re doing it, even if it takes five years, let’s do it properly.”
It’s a big dream, a costly one, financed by donations.
“It’s all individuals, no big money fullas,” he said. “It’s all people giving $100, $200, some thousands.”
Initial costings were $1.5m but, with extra costs for steel and council requirements such as underground stormwater tanks, it’s now expected to cost about $2m.
They still need about $600,000 in donations to complete the project, Hassan said
Building started in 2015 though there have been some delays, including one when they had to change the type of structural steel used.
The second floor of the mosque will be reserved for prayers, and will have lift access.
It’s about 400sqm and could welcome about 500 worshippers, Hassan said.
The current mosque can take around 120, so it’ll be a significant step up.
“We run out of room on Fridays, other functions … after Ramadan [a month of fasting during daylight hours],” he said.
Downstairs, there will be space for community gatherings and kids’ Arabic lessons, a kitchen, offices, toilets and showers, and a morgue area.
Hassan hopes the new mosque will open in 2020.
The current prayer areas and the old house – which the imam [priest] currently lives in – will need to go before it gets sign-off, he said.
Once that’s done, Hassan expects an influx of worshippers and, in the long term, hopes to have an early childhood centre on site.
Builders for the project are Mitchell Construction, architecture is by HBC, and the engineer was GA Hughes.