The Education Ministry has defended its slow response to building problems at a Dannevirke school still waiting for funding approval to get them fixed.
More than 160 Dannevirke South School students were displaced from classrooms last month because of safety concerns with the roof.
The school is waiting for funding approval from the ministry to get started on repairs, even though it has construction plans, a project manager and support from the board of trustees.
Ministry policy manager of property policy and standards Jerome Sheppard said progress was going according to plan, and there was no delay.
"This work has to be done right, and it is a complex process. At the moment, we are having a peer review of the engineer's design completed . . . [by] an independent property professional."
The ministry said it could not give a date for when construction would start, but expected it would be "soon".
The ministry also said it expected the building would be ready for term one next year.
School principal Stephen Snell said he understood the reason for the wait, but admitted "it puts a big strain on staff and kids".
"Ideally we would like it to move quicker than this, but at the end of the day, we have to fit with the ministry's time frame."
With a school roll of 350, nearly half the student population has been displaced.
Mr Snell said getting this problem fixed and bringing the school back together was a priority.
"I'm hopeful we can get it sorted out pretty quick . . . the sooner it's done, the quicker we can get back to normal."
Students who used to be housed in Block A - which was home to seven classrooms, a library, teacher resourcing area and an administration space - have been reshuffled into other classrooms, or are now being taught in the school hall, or have been temporarily moved to Totara College.
The ministry said while disruptions should be short-term, it intended to make other improvements to buildings while strengthening Block A.
"[We] want the best possible long-term solution for the school, and this is a good opportunity to do more than just the strengthening."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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