Tenants asked to leave Bluestone House

KATARINA FILIPE
Last updated 05:00 13/04/2012
susan henderson
NATASHA MARTIN/ Fairfax NZ
NO TIME: English Language Partners Aoraki manager Susan Henderson has a week to move out of Bluestone House.

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Another historic Timaru building will close because of earthquake strengthening concerns.

Two organisations that lease Bluestone House, in Arthur St, have been asked to leave within a week, although Aoraki Polytechnic, which manages the building, and the Bluestone House Trust say the building was not damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes.

Polytech deputy chief executive Alex Cabrera said they would not know what, if any, strengthening work would need to be done until further assessments of the house were carried out.

"It's likely that there may be some changes to the building codes [as a result of the Canterbury earthquakes royal commission of inquiry].

"What we would like to do is to wait for that work to be done and then reassess the building against the new code."

If the polytech had to do strengthening work, the trust would do some restoration work at the same time, Mr Cabrera said.

When asked why Literacy South Canterbury and English Language Partners Aoraki had to move out of the house by next Friday, Mr Cabrera said he was not sure what date they were given, but said it was about "risk management".

"We have got other buildings where we can provide a similar space and have a higher rating of building codes, so it's just a case of risk mitigation really."

Mr Cabrera said all the occupants of the house would be moved to another space on campus, but that had not been finalised yet. The polytech had been discussing their plans with their tenant, Literacy South Canterbury, for about four weeks. English Language Partners Aoraki rents the upstairs of Bluestone House through Literacy South Canterbury.

English Language Partners Aoraki manager Susan Henderson said she did not think it was realistic to be expected to move out within a week, but she would be happy if they had another space to go to.

The house, which has the Historic Places Trust category1 rating, was built for the headmaster of Timaru Main School in 1878.

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- The Timaru Herald

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