Brighter, fresher place to learn emerging

The redevelopment of Arrowtown School is finally taking shape, eight years after watertightness problems were discovered there.

Principal Chris Bryant said the bulk of construction work for the "complex but exciting" project was expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Although the rebuild had not been easy to work around, the attitude of the school’s staff, board of trustees and pupils meant disruption had been minimised.

"We’ve been in this disrupted state for at least two years, and Covid-19 threw another spanner in the works, but everybody has just pulled together and adjusted to the environment.

"The teaching and the learning has remained exceptional, the kids have remained settled and engaged in what they’re doing, and the staff have worked really hard to make it all work."

Arrowtown School principal Chris Bryant inspects progress on the rebuilding project. PHOTO: GUY...
Arrowtown School principal Chris Bryant inspects progress on the rebuilding project. PHOTO: GUY WILLIAMS


The redevelopment started early last year with the demolition of four leaky buildings.

Four temporary classrooms are being used while the demolished buildings are replaced by a two-storey block containing 14 learning spaces and a library, and an adjoining single-storey block to house administration and staff.

Another leaky building has been reroofed and its external cladding and windows replaced.

Remediation work on the school’s hall — now doubling as a temporary work area for staff — is nearly finished.

The rebuild will expand the school’s capacity from 600 places to about 700. It now has 540 pupils.

Mr Bryant said the new learning spaces would be more flexible and adaptable, with a better crossover between indoor and outdoor learning.

"It’s going to be brighter and fresher, and just an exciting place to learn in."

Additional Ministry of Education funding announced late last year would provide further enhancements, including solar panels on the two-storey block and extensive landscaping that would include a learning area and hangi pit.

The school’s weathertightness issues were discovered by the Ministry of Education in 2012, and the school was notified in 2014.

Seven of the nine buildings were affected to varying degrees, but the Ministry said there were no health and safety issues associated with the problem.

The school opened in 1997, in a decade when plaster walls and small or no eaves were common.

guy.williams@odt.co.nz

 

 

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