Abbotsford School pupils Cameryn Tizard (8, left) and twins Oliver and Bella Hackett (9) walk through the underpass linking their school to their homes in Grand Vista Estate. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
A new underpass linking Abbotsford School to the new Grand
Vista Estate on the other side of the main south railway line
in Abbotsford, had prompted the school to plan for
unprecedented roll growth in the next five to 10 years.
Principal Stephanie Madden said an increasing number of
pupils and staff were living at the estate and were using the
underpass to get to school.
The shortcut means pupils living at Grand Vista do not have
to walk more than a kilometre, along Severn St to the railway
overbridge near Main South Road, and then back along North
Taieri Rd, to the school.
Because the school was now so accessible to pupils living on
the estate, parents were moving their families into the new
subdivision and the school's roll had grown significantly,
''Our roll is growing. The number of new entrants has grown
from about 30 per year in previous years, to 45 this year,
and we're expecting it to stay at that level.''
The school's total roll had been sitting around 270 for many
years, but this year's roll had increased significantly, to
297, Mrs Madden said.
LJ Hooker real estate agent Jason Hynes said, so far, about
80 houses had been built or were under construction, and
there would be at least 160 sections once the development was
Mrs Madden said, in the medium term, the school was planning
for the roll to grow to well over 300 pupils.
''The speed that the Grand Vista development is moving is
''In the short to medium-term future, we are considering
where we can fit these kids in.
''In the next five to 10 years, we will need more classroom
The school has an enrolment zone and a ''proportion'' of the
school's pupils were from outside the zone.
The school would now attempt to control growth by carefully
managing the number of ''out-of-zone'' pupils, she said.
Despite the challenges of controlling the roll's growth, Mrs
Madden said it was an exciting time for the school community.
''It's fabulous news.''
The school is now liaising with the developers to see if they
can beautify the tunnel area, and make it more a part of the
school, she said.
One proposal was to have the pupils paint a mural on the
concrete walls of the underpass.