"It is on time and it is on budget", is how Napier's mayor described the progress on Hawke's Bay Museum and Art Gallery.
Yesterday, accompanied by the facility's director Douglas Lloyd-Jenkins, Barbara Arnott took a look around what will be the newest "big little" museum in the world when the doors open for the first time in the spring.
As the Gemco construction crews worked away inside and outside the building, on sites which will become startling cafes, stairways, expansive windowed lounge spots and exhibition spaces, Mrs Arnott was proud of what was emerging.
While the new museum, which merges in comfortably with the 1936 Art Deco-inspired Louis Hay building at the northern end, is coming with a price tag of $18 million the ratepayers' input has only been one third of that.
"Six, six, six," was how Mrs Arnott put it, adding that the Government, councils and ratepayers were each up for only $6 million.
In terms of what was being produced, that cost was minimal to ratepayers, she said.
Mr Lloyd-Jenkins is not exactly counting down the days to the time he and his staff could begin preparing the opening exhibitions but it's clear it can't come quick enough.
"It is so exciting to see it all coming together now," he said as he and Mrs Arnott walked carefully through the work in progress - a stunning interior made more dramatic by the use of natural light through the main foyer and the upstairs galleries which are flanked by great windowed areas which jut out like the bridge of a great ship.
A sneak look upstairs revealed polished, glowing wooden flooring and what will be a remarkable domed skylight.
And so much room - open, welcoming and easily accessible.
Mr Lloyd-Jenkins said the fact the museum would now come up to international standards meant it could host artworks and exhibitions from anywhere in the world.
The old museum had serious limitations in terms of both gallery spaces and the ability to make the visitor feel like they were entering somewhere very special.
And the region's history was "very special" Mrs Arnott said, and one of the driving forces in the design was to provide the most fitting and appropriate venue for what was a growing collection.
"What people will see in here will be their stories and their history."
Mr Lloyd-Jenkins said as the museum's new profile, which runs the whole length of Herschell St now, began to grow the calls from people across the region with personal collections and artifacts also grew. "People realise now there will be somewhere for their collections to be housed and shown."
The old museum had just eight exhibition sites - the new one will have 15 which means the expansive collection storage archives can now be opened and shared.
"There are about 100,000 pieces in our collection," he added.
"We will rotate those as exhibitions - it will be ongoing."
The museum holds some the country's greatest collections of Maori taonga and they can now be prepared and displayed. The 1931 earthquake will also feature, but too will everything from fashion and textiles and everything and anything from all eras, even the styles and clothing of the disco-era '70s will likely get a nudge.
As will a diverse array of artworks.
The opening shows will focus on a celebration of the city and a celebration of the diversity of the collections held.
From the feedback he and Mrs Arnott are beginning to encounter more frequently, there is a real anticipation that something special is about to grace the city, and the region.
There had been some resistance to the project she conceded, but that had fallen away.
"People are now seeing it and are realising just what a great asset this is going to be."
The open glassed southern entranceway and foyer, which will feature colourful night-lighting, will add the final ingredient to what they both referred to as "the square."
"It completes the picture," Mrs Arnott said.
The Sound Shell and colonnade, the Dome, the Masonic building, the Art Deco Trust centre and in a few months time the new Hawke's Bay Museum and Art Gallery all form a colourful square at the top end of the city.
"It is going to be a wonderful city asset," Mrs Arnott said, and even a couple of the workers on site echoed that.
"It really is something," one said, adding that under the dome above, even when you spoke quietly, there was an intriguing and smile-inducing faint little echo.
On the outside, the Herschell St raised cafe area is taking shape, as is the paintwork which runs in subtle shades of white.
That scheme was borne about through the words of Hastings born painter Rita Angus and her equally creative friends, after the earthquake. They termed the phrase for Napier as the "all white city."
"We were inspired by that," Mr Lloyd-Jenkins said.
Museum staff are expected to begin preparing the interior layouts in May, about the same time work will begin on upgrading the Herschell St road.