21st century school coming
A primary school in the path of New Zealand's biggest motorway project is to be rebuilt in the wake of the road's construction.
Temporary classrooms are being erected on Waterview Primary School's field that will house students from next year while the existing buildings are torn down and a new school is built on the site.
The New Zealand Transport Agency was to fund some improvements to the school, including insulation and noise protection, as mitigation for the effects the Waterview Connection could have on it.
Earlier in the year the agency and the Education Ministry decided the cost of upgrading the existing facilities would be too high and that a new school would be more effective.
School principal Brett Skeen says the decision is a silver lining for the school which has faced uncertainty.
"As challenging as the motorway process has been, the NZTA has give us a fantastic opportunity," he says.
"We'll have a 21st century school that will ensure the best possible learning experience for kids.
"There is a community of people that have been disrupted but hopefully they can see some goodness in the project. It might not be pleasing everyone but we have got a good result for the school," he says.
Demolition of the school should be complete by January while the rebuild is expected to get under way by June and be finished in 2014.
The new school is yet to be designed, but will include a hall, a library, new classrooms and upgrades to the school's pool.
An Education Ministry spokeswoman says the upgrade will help to cope with anticipated growth in the area.
The current school has a roll of just over 150 students, while the new school will cater for 240.
Waterview Primary School was built between 1948 and 1950 and still holds most of its original structure, board of trustees chairwoman Margi Watson says.
"It's the end of a lot of history and things people associate with Waterview. It's sad but at the end of the day the motorway is going ahead and we're grabbing the best opportunities we can," she says.
A reunion is being held on December 8 for past staff and students. Email fayema@waterview. school.nz, or call 828 7227 by December 3 to register.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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