By DAVID HILL
Local schools can expect another busy year, with several building projects across the region.
There are five major Ministry of Education-led building projects across the region, while quake recovery work is ongoing, says the acting head of education infrastructure service, Rob Campbell.
“Since the November 2016 earthquakes we have undertaken works across affected schools in the Hurunui and Kaikoura districts, and have supported other schools to manage their own responses to building issues caused by the earthquakes.
“Some schools have minor cosmetic works still to be completed and will manage these as part of their maintenance programmes.”
There are four ministry-led projects in the Waimakariri district and one in Kaikoura.
Work on the new Rangiora West School is due to start mid-year and it is expected to open at the start of next year.
Kaiapoi High School’s new gymnasium is due to be completed mid-year and will be the final stage of the school’s redevelopment after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, Mr Campbell says.
The project included 42 new learning spaces housed in two separate classroom blocks, refurbishing the schools’ administration block and auditorium, and redeveloping the Karanga Mai Young Parents’ College and Early Learning Centre.
Planning is also under way to replace classrooms destroyed in last November’s fire at Kaiapoi North School, with a new building expected to be completed next year, Mr Campbell says.
“We are working with the school to ensure minimal disruption to learning while we replace the classrooms and two temporary replacement classrooms will be ready for term one this year.”
He says planning has started for the $10 million redevelopment at Oxford Area School, which was announced last year, with building work due to begin next year.
It will include a new library and administration block, 11 teaching spaces for junior school and science, replacement of prefabricated classroom blocks, refurbishment and strengthening of the technology block, and the extension and strengthening of the gymnasium.
The Kaikoura Primary School hall is set to get a facelift, with the project due to be completed next year.
Other projects include the Waiau School pool and a new technology block at Rangiora New Life School.
The $1.5m swimming pool and learners’ pool will replace the old Waiau School pool, which was destroyed in the 2016 earthquake, and is due to be completed next month.
Rangiora New Life School principal Stephen Walters says foundations are being laid for a new 600 square metre technology block next to the school’s events centre.
The new block will house hard and soft materials, design, computing, information technology and the new digital technology curriculum.
“We’re looking forward to seeing that building grow and replace the oldest building at our school,” Mr Walters says. “And it gives us more space for the roll, which is at capacity.”
The school will begin the year with 240 primary and 230 secondary students, but Mr Walters says there is demand for up to 550, should the ministry approve an increase.