For almost two years we have been watching the construction of our new performing arts centre rise from below ground level to the elegant three-storey building it has grown into today. To celebrate the completion, our Official Building Opening was held last Friday 20 August. This is the third and final stage of the Glasshouse Performing Arts Centre or GPAC.
Special guests enjoyed a sumptuous three-course meal accompanied by student performances and were then taken on tours of the building. This was a time where we could also honour our Platinum and Gold sponsors but we are grateful to everyone who donated to our Save Your Seat in the Spotlight Campaign.
There were many contributors to the success of the official opening. I mentioned most of them in my speech on Friday but I want to make a special mention of our Events Coordinator, Penny White. Penny began work on Friday’s event at least six months ago and brought everything together on the day. Thank you, Penny.
GCC families can see all the photos from the Official Opening on Pixevety here.
The vision for this building started to crystalise as far back as 2016 when, as a board of directors, we began to dream about what a significant upgrade of our arts facilities would look like here at GCC.
The decision was that we would build a facility where students would not only learn the skills and crafts of the Performing Arts but would be able to showcase their learning to the community and beyond, in a facility that would be of the highest calibre technically, but would also inspire and elevate the performing arts to new heights.
Stage 1 of this project was our wonderful Music building which was opened in 2019. This facility provides four GLAs on the top floor devoted to music along with six individual tuition rooms on the ground floor along with a recording studio. We currently have over 180 students who are either involved in our bands, choirs or learning an instrument in our private tuition instrumental program.
Stage 2 was completed in 2020, consisting of a Dance studio, a Drama Studio, an industrial standard kitchen and a new staff room for our Arts department, which is one of the largest departments in the College.
This is the facility we celebrated the opening on Friday, now brings these formerly separate parts together in one cohesive building.
Of course, the main part of Stage 3 is this incredible auditorium and performing space that seats 610 people. This will accommodate all the students in primary to meet as one and all the secondary students to also meet as one.
To add further functionality the seats have been made retractable, to reveal a flat floor of over 330 sqm. Friday’s official opening is the first of the many functions of this type that will be made possible with the marriage of the kitchen and this floor space.
When I was in GPAC last week, I saw a Year 11 Music class tour the facility for the first time and it was gratifying to hear the gasps of disbelief and awe and to see the smiles and wide-eyed wonder on their faces. It was a pleasure to see them nudge each other as they excitedly pointed to the elegant Tasmanian Oak finishes, as they pointed up and said, “look that pattern is the Glasshouse Mountains” as they walked the length and breadth of the stage. You could see they were relishing the prospect that one day they would perform here, even perhaps something of their own creation. As one student put it to me, “Sir, I knew it was going to be good but this is incredible!” One of the hardest things in the world is to impress teenagers so congratulations to the team who made that happen.
GPAC special components
As you would expect there has been much careful thought that has gone into the “backstage” components of the building such as the spacious change rooms and storage spaces. Although not completely finished with furnishings yet, the high ceilings of the grand foyer will make a strong impression on anyone who enters this building.
Another structure in this building that makes it truly stand out from other facilities far and wide is the inclusion of an orchestra pit. Facilities like this are only found in “serious” theatres and it greatly increases the flexibility and the functionality of this space.
As this will be the location for all of our chapels and assemblies, GPAC will be well used by all students of the College from Prep to Year 12. I love the fact that every week, every student of the College will be interacting with this space. It is a space that reflects and promotes the high standards of excellence that we aspire to here at Glasshouse Christian College.
College Board and sad news
We have a wonderful College board that works tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the College stays on the right track, and their involvement in this project is no exception. As you can imagine, for the past five years the GPAC has been an important, perhaps dominant topic in nearly every board meeting. There have been many late nights deliberating over designs, colours, finishes and features and the endless other considerations of a project this size. I would like to thank Erik Dodwell, Lauren Fishburn, Kevin Hine, Chris Johnson and Jenny Broderick.
I’ve reserved a special thank you to Renee Leitch. Renee couldn’t be at the official opening but managed to pre-record a lovely speech for us to use at the event. It is my very sad duty to inform you that Renee passed away Sunday night 22 August after a short battle with an aggressive cancer. Renee was in her early seventies but it was a sudden decline that has left us a little shocked.
Renee was our longest-serving board member, joining in 2007 and then taking on the post of Company Secretary around 2010. Renee’s servant heart showed in her faithful attendance at board meetings and her passion for GCC’s mission, to provide quality Christian education.
Even though Renee was a team player who valued consensus, when it came to the College’s mission, she had strong, godly opinions. It is thanks to Renee’s love for her Lord and our College, that we enjoy strong faith values in our staff, teaching and overall character of the College. Many years ago, the College was at a turning point and it was thanks again to Renee that the right turn was taken.
Renee was also a close and valued friend of mine. She has been a wonderful support to me personally over the past 14 years and I will miss her as I know the whole board will. The fact that she was running her own business until very recently testified to the fact that she was an extraordinary lady.
Although Renee was not wealthy, I know of many people and causes who were recipients of her and Ken’s generosity. Almost always, the gifts were anonymous and most will never know that they were blessed by Renee and Ken in this way.
Renee loved God with all her heart, soul and mind and her final days were filled with looking forward to being with her Lord Jesus Christ. One of Renee’s final wishes was for her ashes to be scattered over one of GCC’s ovals. Renee will not only be with us in spirit but in a special way, always be part of our College.
Please join with me in thanking God for the wonderful life of Renee Leitch and the blessing she was to everyone who knew her.
Mike Curtis, Principal