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Historic move for Catholic school

BY CARLY TAWHIAO
Last updated 05:00 17/07/2009
Christ the King School
Photo: JASON OXENHAM

MOVING ON: Christ the King Primary School principal Jane Hahn and year 6 students, from left: Ken Niva, Paris Baker and Latisha Isaako are packing up their school belongings for a 50-metre move south.

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As the school holidays come to a close, Christ the King Primary School is getting ready to open new doors.

The Richardson Rd school is packing up and moving into its brand new school 50 metres away, where Christ the King Church used to stand.

The $15 million move is part of a New Zealand Transport Agency strategy to keep noise pollution from State Highway 20 at a minimum.

Agency acting regional director Tommy Parker says the final cost for the redevelopment is not yet known but appears to be on track.

"Not all the contractor payment claims have been received or assessed," he says.

"The reinstatement of the Christ the King School and church is however well within the originally budgeted cost."

The move heralds an historic moment for the Catholic school which was started by the Sisters of St Joseph in 1954, says the school’s principal Jane Hahn.

"The children are very excited and we’ve really tapped into the concept of change, both around here and in broader aspects. Schools have lots of memories so it’s a poignant time for reflection," she says.

"After the church was built in 1953, the school was set up with nuns commuting daily from the St Benedict’s convent in Newton to teach."

Although the church is now located about 200 metres down the road, the school is still linked to it by a driveway running behind residential properties.

Modern designs featured in the new school include large brightly painted classrooms that act as sound-proof shell to shield pupils from the busy intersection directly outside.

The original school buildings have been demolished during this term break and raising money for new classroom furnishings is the school’s next mission.

Mrs Hahn says both in design and throughout construction and demolition, child safety has been paramount.

"The team who’ve built it have been wonderful. They were aware of the children and placed strict controls around the school."

Construction of the new Mt Roskill school began almost one year ago, but negotiations around the redevelopment have been going on since 2000 – before the majority of the primary’s 140 pupils were born.

Regardless of the lengthy time of events, Mrs Hahn says the school looks forward to hosting an open day for the wider parish and community on August 23.

"Everybody in the local community has been watching it being built. And they all seem to like it so it will be great for them to have a good look around."

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