Bluestone House work gets go-ahead

DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Last updated 08:36 27/02/2014
timaru bluestone house barrie bracefield
JOHN BISSET/Fairfax NZ
NO EASY JOB: Architect Barrie Bracefield takes a closer look at Bluestone House.

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Bluestone House is to undergo earthquake strengthening work.

The Arthur St building was closed in April 2012 because of earthquake strengthening concerns and two tenants, Literacy South Canterbury and English Language Partners Aoraki, were forced to relocate.

Timaru Civic Trust chairwoman Rosie Carruthers said a building consent for earthquake strengthening was granted earlier this month and she described the work involved as "complex".

"It's an important building in terms of its heritage classification and what you can do with a heritage building is more strictly controlled than what you would do with your house. It's a vitally important building to the district."

She said planning was a "work in progress" and that the trust was working in conjunction with Aoraki Polytechnic, which manages the building, in regards to potential tenants once work was completed.

Architect Barrie Bracefield, said the cost of the work and a timeframe was yet to be confirmed.

He said the job wouldn't be an easy one. "It's strengthening of various elements of the building, but from the outside you won't see any changes. The work involves a series of connections to hold the various elements together, it's not an easy one to describe.

"It's a category 1 historic building so there are certain guidelines that we have to adhere to. In a month or so when we've had more meetings and selected a contractor we will know where we are going and how long it will take."

Mr Bracefield is determined to see the building again used.

"It's a very important building and should be kept in use. If these buildings haven't got a use, there's no use in keeping them. I'm very keen to see it remain."

Bluestone House was built for the principal of Timaru Main School in 1878.

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