Family enjoying lifestyle

Nicky O'Brien, Michael Byck and their children Cody (7) and Breane (9) are happy to call the former Ocean View School home. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Nicky O'Brien, Michael Byck and their children Cody (7) and Breane (9) are happy to call the former Ocean View School home. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.

Taieri Times is taking a trip down memory lane and visiting schools in the district which have been closed and have new uses. This week Tim Brown visits Ocean View School.

The laughter of children can still be heard in the corridor of Ocean View School.

Not in some ghostly nostalgic way, but literally, as Nicky O'Brien, Michael Byck and their children Breane (9) and Cody (7) call the former school home.

While an old school was not the family's first thought of a family home, upon visiting the site they decided it was perfect, Mrs O'Brien said.

''The whole location [was perfect],'' she said.

''It's on the end of a cul-de-sac, it looks out at the ocean and it's on five acres [2.02ha].''

The school, which opened in 1959, closed in 2008 because of declining rolls, merging with nearby Brighton School to form Big Rock School.

''It's just a larger-size home and we could see that vision,'' she said.

After Mr Byck and Mrs O'Brien bought the home in 2010, they got to work renovating it into the family home.

''We moved in four days later.

''My husband had work up in Marlborough, so it was me and the two young children sleeping in the office space,'' she said, with a laugh.

The family had maintained the character of the school in their renovation and part of it was used for apartment accommodation.

It allowed Mrs O'Brien to stay busy while working from home.

Apart from the accommodation, the family also kept ''some alpacas, some sheep and a pony'' on the large section. .

Ocean View School had grown on the family and they could not imagine themselves anywhere else, she said.

''We really love it,'' Mrs O'Brien said.

''It has the feeling of a marae. It has a calm strong feeling about it.

''It's just a very peaceful place to live and the business has done really well. We are really grateful.''

• If there is an old school on the Taieri you are interested in finding out about, email taieritimes@ alliedpress.co.nz

- Tim Brown

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