Prefabs will be 'lovely'
The headmaster of an Auckland primary is feeling positive despite a government decision to demolish the school's main building and replace classrooms with prefabs.
Wesley Primary School principal Rae Parkin says the Ministry of Education decided to pull down the school's two-storey block because of mounting repairs needed to the 1950s building.
"The ministry has looked at the costs and decided that this building is old and they can only fix it up so much," she says.
"It leaks and needs repairing and there are windows and things that you can't get the parts for any more."
As well as being cold and dark the Mt Roskill school has no sound-proofing between the top and bottom floors.
"All the classes downstairs can here every piece of noise from upstairs," Ms Parkin says.
A blessing ceremony was held to farewell the building of nine classrooms that will be replaced by eight new prefabs dotted around the school field.
The prefabs will come from other schools and be upgraded once on site. Two prefabs already on the school grounds will get refurbished during the changes.
As yet there is no decision to construct new permanent buildings for the decile 1 school, however, the administration area will get a makeover with a wooden-slat facade and updated entranceway.
Ministry regional property manager Brian Mitchell says the decision not to modernise the classrooms was partially based on the shrinking roll.
"Most of the school's classrooms and administration facilities are in one, long two-storey building which is now too big to support the current roll," he says. "About one half of its space is surplus."
There are currently 195 children on the roll at Wesley Primary, and capacity is 240.
Mr Mitchell also says the long weatherboard block "is at the end of its life in terms of being high maintenance and no longer an effective teaching environment".
Ms Parkin says the changes are positive because the students will now have up-to-date classrooms that are dry and warm.
"It will be great for the area and good for the community, the children will have a lovely place of learning," she says.
"This building has got a lot of history and it's quite sad that it is being pulled down but it can't really be fixed up any more."
Demolition begins in January, and the new classrooms will be blessed in February.
Murals attached to the school building will be preserved in the changes.