Principal keen for tech centre

Nick SimpsonSouth Otago High School's new principal has reactivated plans to establish a district-wide technology centre on the school grounds.

The existing technology centre for Balclutha pupils is run by Balclutha Primary School in a cramped facility 200m away from the school.

SOHS principal Nick Simpson has that school's blessing to look at bringing a new facility to the high school grounds.

The present centre caters for pupils in years 7 and 8, offering tuition in woodwork, fabrics and home economics. SOHS is planning to extend its existing information technology area and hopes to include a revamped technology centre as part of the overall upgrade. The project could cost $1.5 million.

The high school's initial proposal for a new centre on its grounds fell flat when the Ministry of Education did not offer enough money, so the idea was scuttled.

But Mr Simpson, who started at the school this term, has convened a working party to begin looking at the concept again. "We are going to start visiting other schools, getting some fresh ideas and starting to have a serious look at this again," he said.

This week, Mr Simpson inspected the newly opened technology facilities at The Catlins Area School and visits are being planned around Dunedin soon before a trip to facilities at Timaru.

"We want to look at concepts, costs, how these centres work in other places so we can get a good lot of ideas."

Once the working party has finished its road trips in the south, it will look to engage an architect to prepare concept plans and then consider putting the project out to tender.

No timeframes have been developed yet but Mr Simpson hopes concept plans may be ready by the end of this year.