Further growth expected

Remarkables Primary School board of trustees chairwoman Fiona Woodham (left) and principal Debbie...
Remarkables Primary School board of trustees chairwoman Fiona Woodham (left) and principal Debbie Dickson stand in front of the $17.3 million school in Frankton which was originally designed with an extra sixth "learning pod" of four classrooms, in addition to the 20 classrooms within five pods which were finished just over two and a-half years ago. Photo by James Beech.
Relocatable classrooms for up to 112 extra pupils are unlikely to tide over Remarkables Primary School until the Ministry of Education opens a new Wakatipu primary school "in about two years' time".

The school is transporting a pair of relocatable blocks of two classrooms on to the school site from Queenstown Primary School and Wakatipu High School.

The Ministry of Education is to confirm a project manager for the site development.

Enrolments have continued to balloon at Remarkables Primary, with 462 pupils on the books as of yesterday, two more than the school's original capacity.

A roll of 481 pupils was expected by the end of 2012, based on pre-enrolments the school knew of.

Its multipurpose room will become a dedicated classroom next term and the school is advertising nationally for more teachers to start next year.

Ministry property advisers said the school needed to accommodate a further 60 pupils before the planned new Wakatipu primary school opened "in about two years' time".

The ministry bought land in Frankton in 1958 for what became the site of Remarkables Primary School.

It began opening the school in stages from February 2010.

The school board of trustees predicts there will be 520 to 530 pupils by mid-2014"We have our figures and we believe growth will continue, even beyond the introduction of any primary school," board chairwoman Fiona Woodham, of Frankton, said yesterday.

"We still haven't seen firm evidence that [a new Wakatipu primary] is going to open on any firm date, so we do have concerns that even if these four classrooms do see us through that two-year period, we believe we are still going to be sitting on a very high number beyond that."

Trustees met school property adviser Brian Tegg from the Dunedin office of the Ministry of Education again this week after they met him last week to discuss school property developments, Mrs Woodham said.

"We are pleased to confirm that we will be having four relocatable classrooms coming on site.

"It is envisaged that a two-classroom block will be ready for the beginning of the 2013 school year with work commencing next term and the other two classroom block to be completed during term one."

The relocatable classrooms were to be soundproofed to comply with the requirements of the Queenstown Lakes District Council because of the proximity of Queenstown Airport.

The number of pupils who could be taught in each classroom depended on their ages and corresponding ministry recommendations on the ratio of children to one teacher, but could be up to 27 or 28 per classroom.

Mrs Woodham said the positioning of the blocks was being confirmed.

However, the draft proposal was for one block to be placed at the end of Ahuwhenua Pod and the other block near the early learning centre on the slope near the school field side.

"It is hoped that the development of this block will also be co-ordinated with the school field development," Mrs Woodham said.



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