An inner-city school that struggled with a lack of classrooms has received government funding to build four more - hot on the heels of opening a new two-storey block last term.
Grey Lynn School principal Bill Barker has seen the roll expand from just 85 students to about 360 during his 15 years in the job.
The school has also climbed from decile 2 to decile 7.
Mr Barker says the change is indicative of the area's growth through gentrification.
"In terms of roll growth we're talking about 30 kids a year at the moment," he says.
The new $2.4 million block houses eight classrooms and is located on the edge of the school's forest.
"It was important for us to have a design that was placed as close to the forest as we could, so then the kids are looking out into it," he says.
"Sometimes you can be in those classrooms, you can be looking out the windows and see wood pigeons eating and it's lovely."
Mr Barker introduced a culture of tree-planting when he started in 1998. The Ministry of Education was on the brink of closing the school down.
The Grey Lynn resident worked tirelessly to turn it around and create a welcoming environment for children. The new block is dedicated to "Samoan matriarch" Doris Smith, who was on the Board of Trustees that appointed Mr Barker.
"When I took over, things weren't right at the school, and they weren't right on the board and Doris stood beside me for that initial two years and helped support me in terms of the new vision for the school," he says.
"She was always known to the children as Nana Smith.
"When Nana Smith came to assemblies ... all the kids would surround her.
"And she would bring her guitar and sit down and sing songs to those kids, and a lot of those songs are still sung here 15 years on," Mr Barker says.
Mrs Smith died earlier this year, but her family attended the opening ceremony held for the new block.
Also in attendance was associate minister of education Nikki Kaye.
Ms Kaye publicly announced the school has received funding for a further four classrooms.
A board-funded school hall will also be constructed at the same time to economise on building costs.
Planning work will get under way shortly, with the building project due to be finished in early 2015, Ms Kaye says.
"Grey Lynn School is a fast growing inner-city school, and these new classrooms and hall will mean they will have more space to accommodate rising student numbers in modern learning environments."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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