$6.5m centre opens at St Margaret's

TINA LAW
Last updated 08:42 06/02/2013
St Margaret's College
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ

SOLID FOUNDATIONS: The new $6.5 million library, e-learning centre and classroom block, the Jean Crosher Centre, with a sculpture of the piles that have been drilled 23 metres deep.

St Margaret's College
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ
STATE OF THE ART: St Margaret's College is well on the way to being rebuilt with the opening of the new Jean Crosher Centre.

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When the earthquakes damaged 80 per cent of the buildings at St Margaret's College, the school embarked on a multimillion-dollar redesign and build project.

The school this week opens its first major development, a $6.5 million library, e-learning centre and classroom block, the Jean Crosher Centre.

In May, the school plans to open an 800-seat auditorium, chapel and gymnasium with a new international-sized netball and basketball court.

An attached music centre will open in July and the last development, a major administration and classroom block, is expected to be open in 2015.

The two-storey Jean Crosher Centre is sitting on 85 piles buried 23 metres deep - the equivalent of five storeys.

Principal Gillian Simpson said that being an independent school, St Margaret's was able to make quick decisions to pull buildings down.

Planning new complexes began soon after the quakes.

"The vision that we had is now more of a reality. It's almost surreal with everything we have been through," she said.

Insurance proceeds had covered most of the cost of the new buildings, with about $1.5m being contributed by the school, including donations from alumni.

Simpson said the school had taken the opportunity to upgrade many of its facilities to meet 21st- century needs, and those improvements were not covered by insurance.

The library includes an e-learning centre that is fully equipped with a data projector and modern video conferencing facilities.

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