Sunday, January 17, 2016

High School demolition approved

The front entrance to New Norfolk High School is to be demolished.
PERMISSION has been given for the demolition of the original parts of New Norfolk High School. Known as the Bristol Block, there was great interest in the pre-cut aluminium building when it was ordered from England in 1951.

Principal Adam Potito said the building had been earmarked for demolition for many years and the school's recently increased capital works funding would now allow this to occur. Writing in last month's school newsletter, Mr Potito said he envisaged the work would happen towards the end of Term One.

Mercury newspaper report from 1951.
"This will create a new courtyard garden and will coincide with the refurbishment of spaces within existing buildings. It is an exciting time for the future of our school," Mr Potito said.

Costing more than 98,000 Pounds ($3.2 million today) including the cost of land purchased from Kensington Park subdivision, the aluminium building was described as one of the most advanced in the Australia and the most up-to-date in Tasmania when it was officially opened by the then premier Robert Cosgrove in 1954.

While the materials were purchased in 1951, the prefabricated school was stored at Lachlan Park Hospital until the government had the funds to have it erected in 1954. Premier Cosgrove said the school had been designed for Tasmanian conditions.

Staff and students inspect the progress of
the school's construction in 1954.
The building had six general classrooms, two science classrooms, a library, toilets, and facilities for office staff. A trades block and a domestic science block opened shortly afterwards, built of weatherboard. Part of the Bristol building was dismantled in the late 1970s to make way for the brick Grade 7 block.

The remaining section of the Bristol block, which includes the main front of the school facing Blair St, has served a variety of purposes over the decades, ranging from typing and computer classrooms, to a lunchroom, weights room, and offices for the school nurse and welfare officers.

The demolition will change the face of the school and remove the last links with its earliest history. Mr Potito did not specify what would become of the enclosed memorial garden once the building comes down, nor the fate of a student-produced mural at the main entrance.

This quadrangle has been the scene of hundreds of outdoor assemblies since the
school opened in 1954. The buildings pictured are scheduled for demolition this
term. At left is the weights room (previously the computer room), and a double
unit that has served as a lunch room and space for exams. At right is the present
computer room (previously a typing room) and classrooms that were once used
for commercial subjects.
The memorial garden is enclosed on two sides by the soon-to-be demolished
Bristol Block. The garden contains memorials to teacher Adrian Billings and
students Garth Brown, Matthew Graham and Taylor Lacey.

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