The 200 students of the Academy, finally in their new premises in Ahin: “It’s a great day for us”

The 200 students of the Academy, finally in their new premises in Ahin: “It’s a great day for us”
The 200 students of the Academy, finally in their new premises in Ahin: “It’s a great day for us”

”It’s a big day for us. We come from a complicated situation and we arrive in a very bright place.” She is happy, Catherine Charlier, the director of the Academy of Fine Arts of Huy. This Tuesday, its students, its teachers but also the entire neighborhood were able to inaugurate the new premises made available to the Academy, right next to the Ahin neighborhood center. The neighborhood center was formerly the Ahin school, while the premises now hosting the Academy were the neighborhood concierge and library.

This is a story that ends well for the Academy and its students. Who, in July 2022, had to leave their building on rue de l’Harmonie in the heart of Huy. The building which belonged, and still belongs to the School Building Fund of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, was in such poor condition that students and teachers were evicted. The Academy has occupied the premises there since 1984, since the year the Namur Academy decided to open a branch in Huy. Except that over the years, the building has deteriorated with the outcome we know. Today, it is empty of any occupants and no one knows what will become of it…

By municipal services

In the meantime, the City of Huy looked for solutions to accommodate the Academy. Some of the students were thus accommodated in the FC Tihange refreshment bar, on rue Batti Gérard. A temporary solution however since Meuse Condroz Logement wanted to recover the premises with the ambition of demolishing the refreshment bar to develop social housing projects. Very quickly, the City of Huy then imagined hosting the Academy on the other side of Huy, in Ahin, in the former school concierge. A building unoccupied for several years that had to be renovated. Apart from the roof, redone in 2016, everything had to be torn off and rebuilt. And the work was entrusted to municipal workers. Change of chassis with a Ureba subsidy, repair of the floors, repair of the staircase, renovation of the electricity but also of the sanitary facilities and heating, installation of a guardrail, new ceilings and installation of fire detection: the there was no shortage of work. The workers also took care of the coloring and the tapestry. Cost of the project: €93,761 for a space which can now accommodate multidisciplinary courses for 6-17 year olds, the multidisciplinary course with a textile research orientation, the secretarial service as well as painting, drawing and art history courses.

The Academy and the Neighborhood Center are now neighbors. ©eda C.Du

At the head of the works department, Virginie Libert was very proud this Tuesday of the work carried out by the workers. “We had a year of workshe explained. Thirty to 40 municipal workers worked on the site.” All the trades from the works department with, also, the help of the pavers from the roads department for the exterior space formerly the parking lot. A playground has also been set up for children. “This marks the end of a global project within the neighborhood and the arrival of the Academy will bring the neighborhood to life.” During the inauguration, the mayor, acting mayor and aldermen praised the work of the municipal workers and the positive epilogue to this Academy file.

Catherine Charlier, director of the Academy, was also happy with the work done. Happy to see the quality of the building made available to its 200 students. “For the students, it’s a chance to have something new.” Clearly, these new premises will undoubtedly attract new registrations. “It will attract people but we won’t be able to push the walls. I’ve already had requests from people in the neighborhood.” And the presence of the neighboring community center also makes it possible to develop common activities, she is convinced. “We will be able to create links.”

The newly renovated premises were inaugurated this Tuesday at the end of the day. ©eda C.Du

With his neighbors from the Neighborhood Center

The Ahin Neighborhood Center also benefited from renovation work. These works and the exterior developments were inaugurated just a year ago. Now that it has new neighbors, the Neighborhood Center hopes to develop common activities. Natacha Verest has been its president for several years now. “We have quite a few activities.” Like already this Pentecost weekend with its flood of various events or the village aperitifs once a month. The arrival of the Academy, “it is important because it will bring life. I really hope to find joint activities, so that they can exhibit their works during our activities. We will share the places in a harmonious way.”

Natacha Verest is the president of the neighborhood center. ©eda C.Du
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