6 Jan 2016

New year, new look for some schools

8:04 am on 6 January 2016

The summer holidays are usually a quiet time at schools, but for some it will be a period of transformation.

An artist's impression of how the school will look.

An artist's impression of how Rototuna Junior High School will look. Photo: Rototuna Junior High School

Building projects are under way at many schools as classrooms are repaired and, in some cases, entirely new schools are being prepared for opening.

The work is part of a multi-billion-dollar effort to repair schools and cope with roll growth over the next 10 years.

Among the schools undergoing transformations is Marshland School in Christchurch.

It was damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes and the Ministry of Education has spent $10 million building it anew on a different site.

Principal Jacqui Pascoe said it was scheduled to move to the new site just before Christmas and preparing was like getting ready to shift house, but on a bigger scale.

"It's a bit like moving 26 houses or something - you can't believe how much stuff you've got and you've got to really do some serious thinking about what needs to come with you and if you haven't used things in the last 10 years, are they relevant still?"

Jacqui Pascoe said the old school had flooding and sewerage problems as well as over-crowding so moving to the new school was something of a relief.

"Everyone's just really excited to just have some really nice facilities again and not have those infrastructure problems that are very challenging."

Rototuna Junior High School under construction.

Rototuna Junior High School under construction. Photo: Rototuna Junior High School

In Hamilton, the finishing touches were going on Rototuna Junior High School - the only entirely new school scheduled to open in 2016.

The Education Ministry said the project would cost $40 million.

Principal Fraser Hill said one part of the school's main building was complete and the summer holidays would see the final touches to another part that housed food technology and other rooms.

"There's quite a bit of wiring and other fit-out to happen in that space. There's also a school cafe in the space that's getting done over Christmas. And then there are three learning commons areas that will need to be carpeted, and internal glazing those sorts of things to be done as well."

Fraser Hill said the final stage of building would be done during the first school term of 2016.

He said the school was likely to open with 600 students and will eventually have capacity for 1200.

Koru School in Auckland is in the early stages of a $20 million rebuild.

Principal Stan Whata said piles would be driven down for new buildings this month, after demolition.

"We have to put down 60 piles ranging from 12 to 22 metres over the foundation of the building and that's going to take about four weeks. So with Christmas we're expecting that all that work will be done hopefully before we get the kids back to school."

Mr Whata said the rebuild was happening in three stages and he expected the first of the new teaching areas would be ready for the start of 2017.