Novel gallery use

An Otago Polytechnic plan to convert part of the former Dunedin public art gallery into a community facility has received a boost with a $25,000 grant from the Community Trust of Otago. The polytechnic plans to spend $100,000 fitting out and furnishing the exhibition area of the former gallery and making it available for community groups to use for conferences, exhibitions and gatherings.

The project will begin once restoration work on the building by the Dunedin City Council is completed. The Category 1 historic building will be named the Sargood Centre and be occupied by Otago Polytechnic's Otago Institute of Sport and Adventure (OISA) and Sport Otago.

The community space will boast permanent displays about the 1925 New Zealand and South Seas International Exhibition and the gallery area's history. OISA head Chris Morland said: ''The main benefit of this fit-out is that it gives the public a chance to experience the beauty and ambience of this fine building and gallery space, while learning about the New Zealand and South Seas International Exhibition and other history of the area.''

- vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz