Tett Centre crawls near to completion

After more than two years of construction, the J.K. Tett Centre should open its doors later this fall

After three years of construction, the J.K. Tett Centre is gearing up for its grand opening.

The Tett Centre will be home to eight arts organizations, artists’ studios and a variety of rental spaces, including the Malting Tower, rehearsal and multipurpose studios and a community gallery. It will be part of an arts hub by Kingston’s waterfront which also includes the new Isabel Bader Performing Arts Centre.

The centre, which began construction in 2012, is set to open by the end of 2014.

Originally, construction on the building was set to end by August, but numerous issues, including geotechnical, structural and environmental challenges, have delayed the process. This year’s extremely wet weather and long winter delayed the building progress quite significantly, according to Patty Petkovich, co-chair of the Tett Centre’s board of directors.

Sleek limestone and metal dominate the exterior of the building, which is wrapping up construction. But the interior remains incomplete.

“We’re hoping for an opening date that would be around late November, early December,” Petkovich said.

“We don’t have a set date yet because we don’t want to make any promises we can’t keep.”

Petkovich’s responsibilities as co-chair include managing fundraising efforts in order to open a café area within the building, with hopes of increasing usefulness and enjoyment of the space, she said.

“We want to have something like a café that will attract people to not only use the space, but to sit down and really enjoy it to the fullest.” Built directly on the waterfront and at 370 King St. West, the Tett Centre is near both the natural beauty of Lake Ontario and Queen’s campus, which will enable both the University and students to make use of the building.

Petkovich said the Tett Centre will maintain a close relationship with the Queen’s Fine Arts program, offering gallery space for student exhibits, while also hosting exhibits for Modern Fuel, a local art gallery.

The space will also be leased to other prospective clients for their own purposes.

“We’re so excited about Modern Fuel moving into the center, I’m thinking their first exhibition in the new space here will probably take place sometime within the new year,” said Petkovich.

While the inside of the Tett Centre will be renovated, the enhancements will be incorporated into the designated heritage site. Historically, both the J. K. Tett Centre and the adjacent Stella Buck Building were a part of the Morton Brewery and Distillery complex, one of the largest breweries in North America during the 19th century.

With both new modern additions, as well as old limestone buildings still intact, the Tett Centre is a building that incorporates both the old and the new in its architecture “This facility is going to be an amazing one for the community to use and we are so lucky to have something like this being built in Kingston,” Petkovich said.

“We hope it will get the whole community more involved in the arts, and also it will be great for synergy between Queen’s and our community in Kingston.”



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