Already planning expansion

The new Wakatipu High School at Frankton takes shape last October. PHOTO: PAUL TAYLOR
The new Wakatipu High School at Frankton takes shape last October. PHOTO: PAUL TAYLOR
Planning has already started for the expansion of the new Wakatipu High School, which will be fully open and operational in just under a fortnight.

School principal Steve Hall said the first meeting to discuss stage two of the project, increasing capacity from 1200 to 1800 pupils, was held on December 20. A further, full-day workshop on the expansion was held on Wednesday.

``The rate at which we're growing ... it's possible we could be full by mid-2020,'' Mr Hall said.

``All the parties involved know we need to get on, because design and sign-off and build ... take a few years, so that's why the ministry and others involved are really getting this process moving.''

Mr Hall said the initial design phase was likely to take most of this year.

Ministry of Education head of infrastructure services Kim Shannon said the ministry was in the ``very early stages'' of design work, and details of the budget and time-frame for the build were not yet available.

``We know there is a need for more classrooms to accommodate secondary aged students in the Wakatipu Basin area in the next five to 10 years,'' Ms Shannon said.

``That's why we are working with Wakatipu High School to potentially expand the school to provide for another 600 students.''

The build alone for the new two-storey, 10,000sqm school, cost more than $50million and was built in a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Education and consortium Future Schools Partners.

Wakatipu High is one of four schools being built in the $298million PPP - the consortium is responsible for designing, financing, building and maintaining the school property.

Mr Hall said he would have a clearer picture of the opening day enrolment numbers next week, but the Otago Daily Times has previously reported the starting roll was expected to be about 980.

The first pupils would arrive on February 1 and 2 for orientation, he said.

``You have this very different situation where all your returning students don't know their way around the place. So, we're bringing them in and they're just coming in for a couple of hours and we'll run through some explanations, tell them a bit about the new school and then give them a tour and show them around.''

The full school would open for business on February 7.

Mr Hall said the move had gone ``very, very well''.

``It's a pretty monumental undertaking to pick up a whole organisation and move it to a new physical environment on the other side of town.

Staff spent most of October and November sorting out what needed to taken to the new site.

Movers arrived in December to start the pack up and the physical move began between Christmas and New Year, with some large items, like lathes and hoists, still to be shifted.

The first staff arrived at the new site on January 3 to oversee the unpack ``and now it's over to us''.

``It's been incredible, absolutely incredible.

``The building's amazing, the location's amazing and it's inspirational and it's quite something.



When is somebody going to shut the gate and stop people from flooding into the whole of NZ ? Several regions are under extreme pressure like Wakatipu Basin, and for no good reason.....National's immigration NON-policy is ruining this country for our own children .. You can dribble on all you like about cultural diversity but all we are achieving at the present is a severely overpriced housing market bubble and overcrowded infrastructure.We are all racing around like the proverbial chook, building on any bit of land possible ,building houses for the people who have come here to build houses .. who have supposedly come here to fill skill shortages that still haven't been cured after record immigration levels for at least 3 years in a row. Nothing to do with race or colour here is simply a numbers game....Shut the gate, take a rest ...plan carefully and think about your average Kiwi for a second ....I know the top 1% don't give a toss about anything except their profit, but there must be some common sense included sometime in the mix?? Yeah right...