Borer-ridden school to be pulled down

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 05:00 10/06/2014
liz harrison
LAIRD HARPER/Fairfax NZ
BEETLE BOMB: Principal Liz Harrison says plans can now be made for the future after the discovery of borer infestation in Ramanui Primary School’s main building and the decision to pull it down.

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An infestation of borer means Ramanui Primary School's 61-year-old main building will be demolished.

However, the South Taranaki school is moving to reassure pupils and parents that a building capable of accommodating their needs will replace the borer-ridden structure.

Hawera Primary School is also battling the tiny beetles.

Ramanui School, in Hawera, was put under a microscope last year as part of a nationwide Ministry of Education investigation into leaky and defective buildings.

It ultimately found the school's main building, which houses all of its classrooms and the administration wing, was riddled with borer and needed to be pulled down.

Principal Liz Harrison said the report was a hard pill to swallow but they could now move toward finding a permanent solution.

"We suddenly went from the infill area having to be rebuilt to the whole building has been compromised," she said.

Nothing would change for pupils this year, because there was no immediate danger, but relocatable classrooms would be brought in during the Christmas break.

"The main block wouldn't be demolished by then but the kids will come into school and their learning will be unaffected.

"My biggest concern is what people will think when they see our school being demolished.

"They need to know we will be here and nothing will change."

However, exactly what the school will look like in the future remained uncertain.

"We have no idea," she said. "We could be two or three years in relocatables."

Harrison said she hoped to have that answered when the school's community sat down with ministry officials last night.

Meanwhile, Hawera Primary School principal Neryda Sullivan said they had closed its hall under advice from the ministry.

The school had the assessment peer reviewed and the building proper was fine.

"We can use the hall - just not the stage," she said. Sullivan was unwilling to comment any further until she had talked to the school's board of trustees.

In an email to the Taranaki Daily News, Ministry of Education spokeswoman Katrina Casey said they were discussing how best to support both schools.

"We are still in the early stages of discussions with both schools and are looking forward to meeting representatives to plan a way forward," she said.

"These discussions are not open to the public - this allows all participants in the meeting to freely offer their views in a way they might not otherwise do."

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