Rolleston College and Ministry of Education agree on second campus

Work on stage one of Rolleston College’s second campus is set to start next month. Photo: Hawkins
Work on stage one of Rolleston College’s second campus is set to start next month. Photo: Hawkins
Rolleston College and the Ministry of Education have reached an agreement that will allow work to start next month on the school’s second campus.

It comes after the college and the ministry sat down for mediation with an independent consultant, to finalise details for stage one of the senior campus, located on the corner of Selwyn and Springston Rolleston Rds, about 2.5km from the college.

Rachel Skelton.
Rachel Skelton.
Principal Rachel Skelton said the college is “happy enough” with stage one of the plan.

“It was relatively positive in terms of coming to an agreement to communicate and work together going forward,” Skelton said.

The stripped-back plan was budgeted at about $52 million, but the ministry refused to provide the new revised cost to Selwyn Times. It cited commercial sensitivity, as procurement and delivery were still to be undertaken.

The college’s roll is estimated to grow from 1800 to 3000 by 2030.

In March, Skelton slammed the ministry for cutbacks made to the project, which included the possibility of stages two and three not happening at all.

At the time, Skelton was also critical of the Government blaming the former Labour government for the issues.

The college had invited Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, Education Minister Erica Stanford, and Selwyn MP Nicola Grigg to attend a public meeting.

All three declined, with Grigg unable to attend as she was on maternity leave. However, Grigg has spoken to Skelton on the phone several times and they have also met in person.

Skelton said support from the community, including a 3253-signature petition, helped keep the college front of mind for the ministry.

“I think it’s had a really big impact. We’re just so grateful the community has stood behind the college and young people in Rolleston,” she said.

The college has been in talks with the ministry since March, which ended with mediation in April. The mediation cost the ministry $6000.

Ministry head of property Sam Fowler said the mediation had been a productive, positive process.

“It’s resulted in a workable compromise for stage one of the college’s expansion,” he said.

When the second campus was announced, stage one was due to open at the start of 2025. Current timelines suggest it will now open in 2026.

The scaled-down gym remains, from two courts to one, but the college will spend its own money upgrading the floor to sprung wood.

The ministry has agreed to another playing field and moving temporary classrooms used at the main college site to the second campus, giving the college back playing field and car parking space.

The science and technology block has remained mostly unchanged.

While happy with stage one, Skelton’s concerns lie with stages two and three.

“My bigger concern is ensuring stages two and three stay on track and that they follow stage one . . . We need it to continue to progress,” she said.

Stage two will deliver the front office, arts and english block, theatre and whare. Stage three will provide the maths and social science block, library, canteen, and learning support areas.

“We need to keep those (stages) front of mind (for the ministry) because all three stages create a full school.”

Fowler said the ministry will continue to work with the college on future stages.