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Thousands of students have passed beneath the eagles and anchor of Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT)'s original 1904 building on Hardy Street. Today, the building was officially re-opened following an extensive $200,000 restoration that has included re-levelling, removing rotten weatherboards, re-painting the exterior in heritage colours and re-roofing.
NMIT Chief Executive Tony Gray said it marked the start of the future life of the building.
"We hope what we've done allows it to be moving toward another 100-plus years. We've tried to restore the exterior to what it would have looked like when it opened 100 years ago while still providing really good learning spaces for our students and staff.
"First and foremost, we're here for education and training - we're not really in the business of restoration of heritage buildings. We have also had to do a range of developments to deal with seismic issues. However the building is important to NMIT and significant to the Nelson community - so we are delighted to have been able to restore it".
NMIT's Chief Operating Officer Martin Vanner who led the work said that the restoration of the 1904 building has been part of NMIT’s capital asset management plan for some time but the institute has been in a situation where it needed to use its reserves for other facilities and buildings.
The Nelson Technical School (the forerunner of NMIT) was set up in 1904 and the building was designed by Stead Ellis, a trained architect and secretary to the Nelson Education Board. It opened in 1905 and initially offered classes in cookery, engineering, woodwork, commerce, craft, secretarial and plumbing. The land that the building sits on was donated by Nelson City Council and construction was led by John Scott Jnr at a cost of £1124. The building was under crown ownership until earlier this year when it was transferred to NMIT under the Government's Tertiary Education Institute Crown Asset Transfer and Disposal Policy. Today, it's the base for NMIT's Applied Fitness students.
The restoration was managed by Onus Construction Management Ltd and the building painted by Pinnacle Painters.