Millions of dollars will be spent fixing Arrowtown School's
''leaky'' classrooms, principal Robin Harris says.
In a newsletter to parents and caregivers yesterday, the
school said it had been briefed recently by the Ministry of
Education about weathertightness issues with all its
buildings, except for an area for years 7-8 children.
Mr Harris said seven of the nine blocks at the school - which
has 510 pupils in 21 classrooms - were affected to varying
It might be more cost-efficient to demolish some buildings
than repair them, he said.
The ministry had employed a master planner to develop a
strategic plan, which might prompt an entire rethink of the
"That [repair or rebuild cost] will be in the millions,'' Mr
"It's sad and bad news, but the problem will be managed in a
way to reduce disruptions as much as possible.''
At the end of the day, learning goes on.''
Arrowtown's weathertightness issue is the ministry's second
bombshell in the Wakatipu area in as many weeks, after last
week's surprise announcement it was reviewing school bus
services in the semi-rural area with the intention of making
The issue heated up this week when it was revealed the
ministry had been in discussions with private bus service
operator Connectabus for two months - but schools were only
told of the review on August 5.
Arrowtown School, in Centennial Ave, was built in the 1990s,
when plaster walls and small or no eaves were common.
It was opened in October 1997.
Yesterday's school newsletter said the ministry assured the
board there were no health and safety issues associated with
the weathertightness problems, but the buildings needed to be
fixed before such issues arose.
According to the newsletter - parents and caregivers' first
formal notification of the issue - the buildings were
inspected by ministry surveyors earlier this year.
However, the ministry said issues were first identified two
''We surveyed six of Arrowtown School's blocks in 2012 and
found weathertightness issues in all of them,'' education
infrastructure service head Kim Shannon said in an emailed
''Six of the existing buildings will need to be either reclad
In June, the Government announced work was about to start on
a $2.4 million classroom block at Arrowtown School that would
house six classrooms in a double-storey extension.
Weathertightness problems with classrooms has been a huge
issue for the ministry.
Its 2012 ''national schools weathertightness survey''
predicted a total repair cost of $1.4 billion affecting an
estimated 3097 buildings constructed after 1994.
In a 2009 report prepared for the Ministry of Building and
Housing, consultant PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated New
Zealand's leaky buildings debacle would cost $11.3 billion in