Several tenants using the former Corstorphine School are
being forced to move out to make way for a new property
development that could begin as early as next month.
Land Information New Zealand (Linz) Crown property management
acting manager John Hook said Corstorphine School was still
owned by the Ministry of Education but was subject to an
unconditional offer to purchase.
Settlement of the purchase was expected on May 16.
Mr Hook declined to say who the new owner would be, but
several sources connected to the site believed the former
school was being bought by a property developer and would
probably be turned into an affordable housing project.
The school was opened in February 1950 and falling rolls
forced the board of trustees to ask the ministry to close it
The only licensed tenant in the school is the Methodist
Director Laura Black said May 16 was a day the mission had
been expecting since they moved in three years ago.
Ms Black said the mission received notification recently that
the ministry was terminating its lease.
''We always knew there was substantial risk that two or three
years in, the ministry would dispose of the property and we
would be asked to move on.
''We're actually really grateful to the ministry because the
licence only has a month's notice in it, and they actually
gave us three months' notice.''
She said the mission was the only tenant at the school
permitted to use the buildings under a closed school licence,
but several other smaller organisations used the facilities
under the mission's ''umbrella''.
''I think for some of the smaller groups that were using it
under our umbrella, it is more difficult. They don't have the
mission's resources, and finding classroom-sized space is
''And whilst there are a couple of other primary schools
around town that are vacant, you need to have a lot of
liability insurance to occupy those spaces.
''Small groups typically fall at that hurdle.''
The organisations that have used the buildings under the
Methodist Mission umbrella are Rock Solid, which works with
disadvantaged youth; Pacific Trust Otago education service;
and The American Modular Group (a model engineering
Attempts to contact these organisations were unsuccessful
Ms Black said the mission had secured commercial premises in
South Dunedin. The school grounds are also home to the
Corstorphine Kindergarten and the school's hall is used by
the Corstorphine Community Hub.
However, Dunedin Kindergarten Association general manager
Christine Kerr said the kindergarten and the hub would not be
affected by the sale.
They were situated on land that was subdivided when the
school closed in 2010.
The ministry gave the kindergarten and the Corstorphine
Community Hub a 35-year lease to occupy the buildings.
''For the next 34 years, we are protected by the lease,'' she
Corstorphine Community Hub co-ordinator Dave McKay said he
was pleased the hub would not be forced to move from its
premises, but he was disappointed a housing project could
potentially occupy the grassy playground.
''If you haven't got good ground to grow food, you're in
''The land is critical for survival. It's not about greenie
stuff, it's about survival.''
He also believed if a housing development went on the site,
it would necessitate another school within 10 to 15 years.
''Social trends indicate [population] cycle booms and busts
in a 15-year cycle.
''This community has bust and will boom again.
''I wouldn't be surprised at all if we see a new school built
here in 10 to 15 years under current social conditions.''