For the first time in its history, the heritage listed Armidale Teachers' College has its own website and social media pages, providing an opportunity to share the building's story, promote upcoming events and showcase the many community and cultural groups who call the Armidale Teachers' College home.
The digital rebrand is the first stage of the plan to revitalise the building following the announcement earlier this year that the historic building will be refurbished and become home to the offices of the Department of Regional NSW.
In June 2020, MP Adam Marshall said the community had been waiting for an opportunity like this to come along since the University of New England walked away from the building in 2018.
"The Old Teachers' College, which is now in the hands of NSW Education, is just what the department is after, with plenty of office space, good access and links to high quality digital connectivity," Mr Marshall said last year.
The plans for the building include renovating previously abandoned spaces for community use and commissioning recreations of the Hinton Collection for display throughout the hallways.
There will also be a new museum dedicated to stories of the old teachers' college, a social enterprise café, and a reinstating of the original 1930s heritage garden design.
The New England Conservatorium of Music will create a community music listening and reading room, make updates and improvements to the auditorium, and create a new early childhood music centre.
Chris Clark, Chief Executive Officer at the New England Conservatorium of Music said the Armidale Teachers' College is a 'significant contributor' to the identity of the New England and an 'under-utilised asset' for the community.
"It holds so much potential as a place for people to connect, for high quality cultural events, and as a destination for visitors to our region," Mr Clark said.
The new website is the result of a new collaboration between the Friends of the Old Teachers' College - a non-profit organisation which continues to restore, conserve and encourage community use of the building and gardens, and the New England Conservatorium of Music and Armidale Youth Orchestras who are both resident in the building.
"Since 1997, the Friends have been dedicated to ensuring the Armidale Teachers' College remains accessible and widely used by the community," said Graham Wilson OAM, President of the Friends of the Old Teachers' College.
"This new website promotes awareness of the historic building as well as the wide range of community and cultural events held onsite."
Over the next year, the New England Conservatorium of Music and Friends of the Old Teachers' College will open an exciting new chapter, positioning the historic Teachers' College as a thriving community hub.
Situated alongside the Museum of Education, New England Regional Art Museum and Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place, the re-imagining of the Teachers' College has sparked the imagination of the neighbouring cultural institutions to collaborate more often and consider the collective opportunities a cultural precinct can offer the region socially, culturally and economically.
Originally built in 1929 as the first NSW tertiary educational institution established outside a capital city, many of the Teachers' College original heritage interior features remain intact, featuring Australian timbers, terrazzo stairs and parquetry floors, and a commanding entrance foyer and staircase leading to the first-floor auditorium.
Set within 3.2 hectares of spectacular grounds featuring rose gardens, extensive hedges and geometric garden beds, the building has social and cultural significance to many thousands of teaching, nursing, and other adult education students who graduated from the Armidale Teachers' College, the Armidale College of Advanced Education and the facility of the University of New England.
Fit-out works will be carried out in 2022 to accommodate the new government tenants together with the resident community groups.
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