School extension likely next year

Steve Hall.
Steve Hall
A building extension to increase Wakatipu High School’s capacity by 50% could start in a year’s time, principal Steve Hall says.

Stage two of the school’s build, to increase its capacity from 1200 to 1800 pupils, is expected to be completed in time for the first term of 2021.

The first stage of the two-storey, 10,000sqm campus in Remarkables Park, Frankton, cost more than $50 million.

The extension’s budget has yet to be set but, like the first stage, it will be built in a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Education and private consortium Future Schools Partners.

Ministry head of education infrastructure service Kim Shannon said preliminary design work to "refine the school’s growth requirements" was completed last year.

Although the extension had yet to be formally approved, detailed design and planning would proceed to "further inform budget requirements and the approach to delivery", Ms Shannon said.

The project will extend the school’s main building eastwards, and the school’s gymnasium will double in size.

Mr Hall said term one started on Monday with a roll of 985 pupils, up slightly on last year’s roll, which settled at about 950.

That number was poised to "step up" considerably, starting next year with an anticipated high intake of year 9 pupils from the area’s primary schools.

The school’s first year at its new home went "incredibly well", he said.

Despite the challenges of moving from its former site in Gorge Rd, the school had achieved its goal of maintaining the "great all-round education" it provided.

Asked if any aspect of the move or the new site had surprised him, he said he did not foresee how pupils would use the campus during break times.

Each year level had had "their place" for congregating and relaxing between classes at the old school, he said.

It had taken time for pupils to find those equivalent places in the new campus, and for staff to set rules on appropriate ways of using the spaces.

 

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