Excess classroom buildings will likely be removed from Nayland College's campus following a roll decrease of nearly 30 per cent in six years.
Head of education infrastructure services at the Ministry of Education Kim Shannon said the Stoke college's roll has been falling for some time - from about 1500 students in 2007, to around 1100 at the start of last year.
"With a declining roll, Nayland College's capital maintenance budget has been steadily shrinking, leaving it less able to properly maintain its large stock of buildings," Mrs Shannon said.
She said the college would need to "dispose of some of its classrooms to ensure it is able to keep up full maintenance of the school buildings that are needed for its students".
"With a tight education budget, we need to match limited resources to students," Mrs Shannon said.
"Schools are allocated classroom space based on the number of students, with capital maintenance budgets to match. The amount of classroom space needed to teach 1100 students is clearly much less than that needed to teach 1500 students."
She said the ministry had been working with Nayland College's board of trustees for several years to reach an agreed plan for disposing of excess teaching space.
"We hope to complete these plans over the next few months," she said.
While too early to specify which building or buildings will go, principal Rex Smith said an agreement with the ministry would be reached this year.
Whatever the conclusion, the school's board saw an opportunity to dispose of buildings that had passed their "used-by-date", Mr Smith said. He said that would be preferable to the board spending money on upgrading old buildings that were potentially able to be relocated for use at another school.
The ministry would pay for removal costs.
Mrs Shannon said the ministry had made no plans for the re-location of any property, as it was awaiting a final decision on which buildings were no longer needed at Nayland.
She said the board had been asked to submit a final proposal by the end of next month.
Mrs Shannon said it was not the ministry's first choice to re-use "old, 1950s classrooms of the kind at Nayland College".
"We usually prefer to build from scratch so we can meet modern standards of insulation, classroom design and energy efficiency.
"Re-using older buildings is often not economic because they have to be upgraded, and because they often sustain damage during transportation."
She said extra classrooms would be built at Mapua School and Stoke School to accommodate their growing rolls, adding that Clifton Terrace School and Victory Primary School were "beginning to get quite full".
Mr Smith said there seemed to be no particular reason for Nayland's decreasing roll.
"Part of it is a smaller number of school-aged students in Stoke," he said.
"Nayland's results over the last four years have actually improved, and scholarship results are better than most," he said.
If Nayland's roll was to surge up again following the removal of buildings, its students would still be adequately served by the remaining teaching spaces, Mrs Shannon said.
Mr Smith said the ministry had informed him it will build new teaching spaces at Nayland if that happened, as a part of its strategy to replace old stock and future-proof schools.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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