$220 million public-private partnership deal for schools being finalised

Education Minister Hekia Parata is pleased with the public-private partnership model and wants to see more.
DANIEL TOBIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Education Minister Hekia Parata is pleased with the public-private partnership model and wants to see more.

Work to start rebuilding two high schools at a new site in eastern Christchurch should begin next month.

Shirley Boys' High School and Avonside Girls' High School will be rebuilt together in Queen Elizabeth II Park as part of a $220 million private-public partnership (PPP) to build six new schools in Christchurch and the North Island.

Financing, design and construction negotiations for project are at the final stages, and it is expected the new schools will be ready by the end of 2019 or early in 2020.  

The former Avonside Girls' High School main building, which has been demolished due to earthquake damage. A new school ...
KIRK HARGREAVES/FAIRFAX NZ

The former Avonside Girls' High School main building, which has been demolished due to earthquake damage. A new school is being built in the eastern suburbs.

Shirley Boys' principal John Laurenson said he had met regularly with the principal of Avonside Girls', Education Ministry officials and a consortium called ShapEd to finalise details on the new eastern Christchurch schools.

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He expected final sign off this month and sod-turning to mark the beginning of construction in April.

Students Kyah Berry and Hela Hartdegen at Hobsonville Point School which was built by a private consortium in ...
AMY BAKER

Students Kyah Berry and Hela Hartdegen at Hobsonville Point School which was built by a private consortium in partnership with the Government.

The two schools would retain their individual identities, principals and boards, but would likely share some facilities, including senior classes and possibly technology functions, Laurenson said.  

The four others new schools involved in the partnership are primary schools – Huapai in Kumeu, Flat Bush South East and Scott Point in Auckland, and Sylvester in Hamilton.

Negotiations are at the final stages between the ShapEd construction consortium, led by Morrison & Co, and the Government over the contract to build the six schools and maintain them for 25 years.

Haeata Community Campus opened last month after being built built under a private-public partnership model, and formed ...
GEORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ

Haeata Community Campus opened last month after being built built under a private-public partnership model, and formed by merging five schools in the Aranui, Christchurch, area together.

Education Minister Hekia Parata praised the PPP model, saying it took the "burden" of school property management off teachers and boards of trustees, "allowing them to focus their time on students' learning". 

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The first school PPPs were at Hobsonville Point and Junior College in Auckland, and Rolleston College and Haeata Community Campus in Canterbury. Another, Wakatipu High School is due to open in 2018.

"I'm confident that the third PPP will deliver world class design, construction and facilities management as well as overall value for money," Parata said.

The teachers unions and Labour Party spokesman Chris Hipkins​ have questioned the cost savings and loss of community control under the PPP structure.

The latest venture will cater for almost 4000 students and the Ministry of Education is considering adding more schools to the deal.

Other companies involved in the ShapEd consortium include Southbase Construction, CPB Contractors, Pacific Partnerships and architects ASC.

Facilities manager Spotless, which is involved in 13 such projects already, will deliver facilities management, grounds maintenance, pest control, cleaning, security, and utilities and waste management.

"Spotless thoroughly understands this model and we believe there will be opportunities to deliver similar services to other schools in the coming years," group chief executive Martin Sheppard said.

Under a PPP, private sector partners carry out the design and build and put up the money for the project, usually by contributing equity and borrowing.

The partners manage the asset over a defined period known as a "concession" – typically about 25 years – and recover the initial construction costs and ongoing financing and maintenance costs through regular, fixed payments from the Crown.

At the end of the concession, the assets revert to Crown ownership, usually with a specified minimum life expectancy remaining.

 - Stuff

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