The School of Art in High Street, just above the Museum, was opened in 1934 with rooms around a two-story octagon with open balcony. An extension was planned but never built; on the north side you can see the concrete lintels in the blank wall and the toothing courses of brickwork on the comers. The whole complex has stood empty since 1997, having been replaced by the new School of Art and Design built on the main Suffolk College campus.
However, work is proceeding which will see some of the building back in educational use by the start of the academic year. Suffolk College with university partner UEA has won a bid for a New Technology Institute, one of 19 in the country. The facilities being created here will be the hub of the Suffolk Institute of Technology, with branches elsewhere in the county.
The Institute will provide a range of opportunities to develop computer skills, including Learn Direct, foundation degrees and an innovation lab where high-flyers can develop new systems, software and communication techniques. The octagon is being renovated to form an ideas exchange where staff and students can explore new technologies. Suffolk College is currently exploring further use of the building with neighbours and partners.