Fewer Otago school buildings than expected need work for weather-tightness

Just four buildings had issues with weather-tightness. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Just four buildings had issues with weather-tightness. PHOTO: ODT FILES
A list of 20 school buildings in Otago, identified by the Ministry of Education as having "weather-tightness issues", has been whittled down to four.

Ministry of Education infrastructure service head Kim Shannon said investigations of school buildings in late 2017 found the risk of possible weather-tightness issues in 20 Otago school buildings.

However, she said a number of the buildings that were initially identified as having weather-tightness issues had since been re-checked.

"Buildings that showed no signs of leaking are being monitored, but no work is currently needed on these buildings."

Ms Shannon said corrective weather-tightness work was being carried out on two buildings at Hawea Flat School, one building at Outram School, and the main block at Clutha Valley School.

"All schools in Otago identified within our weather-tightness programme now have projects under way.

"All the projects are currently in the design phase."

Not included in the list of leaky buildings are Lawrence Area School and Maniototo Area School.

"These schools were built prior to the leaky building period defined as 1994 to 2005, and now need to be redeveloped due to their age and condition."

About a fifth of Lawrence Area School's buildings will be rebuilt, as will the entire Maniototo Area School.

Construction on the projects is expected to begin later this year and cost $11million.

Maniototo Area School principal Joe Ferdinand was delighted his school would no longer have to put bowls and buckets out in classrooms on rainy days to catch water leaking from its ceilings.

"We've got very old buildings. We're one of the first area schools in the country," he said.

It was hoped the new school would be built next to the present school so classes could continue during construction.

Lawrence Area School principal John Auld said his school's library, science laboratories and music suite had leaks that were bad enough to cause long-term structural issues, and were in dire need of replacement.

He said the ministry had been very proactive and had allocated $3.9million to redevelop the school to accommodate that loss.

Ms Shannon said the investment in repairing leaky school buildings was to ensure the regions' school network delivered quality, fit-for-purpose, learning environments.

The health and safety of pupils was the ministry's No 1 one priority, she said.

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