$17m on arts, cricket, for sons of rich

AMANDA FISHER
Last updated 05:00 31/01/2011
NEW DIGS: Impression of the outside of the covered sports centre.
NEW DIGS: Impression of the outside of the covered sports centre.

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Scots College  pupils, sons of some of New Zealand's rich and famous, will soon have a $14m creative and performing arts centre, alongside a new $3m covered sports centre that has four indoor cricket pitches.

Both Weta Workshop and Cricket Wellington have been involved with the concept, design and staff training.

Principal Graeme Yule confirmed that both Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor have sons at the private school in Strathmore, where fees are between $3300 and $4362 a term.

"We got [Weta and Cricket Wellington] in to advise with what we were doing and all of a sudden the shutters went off and it opened up," Mr Yule said.

"Fran [Jackson's wife Fran Walsh] has been great. She's brought out all the people who have won Oscars for the score-writing for Lord of the Rings."

Construction had just begun on the sports centre, which would be finished in July. The arts centre, on which construction began last July, was to be completed at the end of this year.

"We were going to build three classrooms [for the arts centre] and it's morphed into three storeys, 2 1/2 thousand square metres and $14m."

Its facilities will enable pupils to make their own movies, including sketching, model-making, robotics, digital animation, and composing a score.

It will also have a 3D printer, which constructs three-dimensional designs out of silicate, which is hardened with a laser.

Wellington cricket historian Don Neely said people would marvel at the 45-metre-by-22m sports centre, which included a large screen to play back performances.

"I have never seen anything to rival this, I'm talking not only in this country. When I first saw the plans put forward, I couldn't believe what I was seeing, not only the extent of it, but the vision."

The astroturf and translucent polycarbonate sheeting would give the appearance of being outdoors. "Where was that when I needed it most, 60 years ago?"

Local sports teams, including the Miramar Rangers football club, had already registered interest to play at the centre, and there were discussions about it becoming the home of Wellington women's cricket.

The school was borrowing the majority of the money, as well as fundraising, Mr Yule said. It has 840 pupils from year 1 to year 13, including 60 boarders who pay an extra $13,000 a year in fees.

The sports and arts centres would be used by community groups as well as pupils, though they would have to pay.

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- The Dominion Post

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