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Te Kura O Take Karara in the Three Parks development next to the Wanaka Recreation Centre could take 400 pupils but will start term one with a roll of just 80.
Principal Jodie Howard said many of those pupils would be in the junior years and it would take about three or four years for the school to grow to its stage one capacity.
Stage one has 17 teaching spaces, an administration area and a hall within four blocks.
Stage two will allow for another 300 pupils.
The new school included modern learning environments which featured large open areas and spaces that can be closed off and where groups of up to six children can be taught.
Ms Howard said the school had to remain off limits to the public until the end of the month because the access road was not yet finished and a few last-minute building jobs were being completed.