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Workers desert school refurbishment

DANIELLE STREET
Last updated 07:50 15/02/2013
wesley college
FENCED OFF: Large sections of Wesley Primary School are fenced off after workers deserted the site mid-construction.

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Students of a decile 1 primary have started their school year amid fallout from the collapse of construction company Mainzeal.

Wesley Primary School has been left with potholes, piles of dirt and fences blocking access to the playground after the site was deserted by Mainzeal workers.

The construction giant was put into receivership last week.

A series of events had adversely affected the company's financial position, coupled with a decline in commercial construction, according to company director Richard Yan.

About 400 staff of Mainzeal Property and Construction have been made redundant and construction sites around the country have been closed down.

The company was the main contractor for work being undertaken at the Mt Roskill school over the holidays.

In December, the Central Leader reported Wesley Primary's leaky 1950s school building was being replaced with a series of prefabs dotted around the grounds.

The prefabs were being refurbished on site with the intention of being complete for the first day of school.

But instead of being welcomed into new classrooms the children were greeted on Monday morning by signs reading "Danger: Construction".

Half-completed prefabs lay empty while classes are being held in the main block that is destined for demolition.

Principal Rae Parkin could not be reached for comment.

But she wrote on the school website: "Mainzeal is our main contractor so work has stopped for a moment or two."

She added that she hoped they will be moving into the new classrooms in March.

Mt Roskill MP Phil Goff has been in touch with the principal and says the school community is keeping a "spirit of the Blitz" attitude about the setback.

"It is a stressful time - they haven't got access to their rooms or the playground.

"But the ministry is working really hard trying to get the work completed and the school is feeling positive that they will get on top of it," he says.

An Ministry of Education spokesperson says they are in negotiation with the receivers Pricewaterhouse Coopers about the completion of the contract.

"We expect that the work will be completed within two to three weeks and the students back into the new classrooms."

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