The Southern Institute of Technology’s new $17 million creative centre incorporating the St John’s Anglican Church is on track to open in February 2022.
SIT purchased the church on the corner of Tay and Esk Street in 2019 with the intention of keeping it and creating a ‘new and old’ integration resulting in a creative centre.
Head of faculty new media arts and business Hamish Small said the idea was based on a model in Australia using old heritage buildings.
The new facility would be used by both screen arts and contemporary music programmes, and once completed would be able to accommodate up to 400 students.
Hamish said it was a facility for the creative sector but with a strong technology focus.
Next to the church, construction is underway on a brand new three-storied technology building with the same angles of the church so it blended in.
A new extension on the North side featured a cafe that would also be open to the public and the church itself would have two sound proof pods that would be used as classrooms.
Hamish said the stage and podium in the church remained the same and would be used for public performances.
“The whole church can be opened up for exhibitions.”
A glass covered atrium between the church and new building would feature a mixture of both the old and new, keeping with the heritage of the parish, he said.
“We’re hoping there will be both oral and visual history of the church itself, and it’s a way of keeping the parish involved as well.”
The original 100-year-old pipe organ was also being retained and was being refurbished so some the ladies from the parish can teach the students how to play it.
As part of the $17 million development, the church also had to be earthquake strengthened, and this was funded through the SIT reserves fund.
Hamish said the construction was due to be completed in mid-September when the IT and data teams “do their magic,” with the new creative centre opened for the first intake in February 2022.