Schools on the move in rebuild

Quake-damaged primary schools will be rebuilt on the sites of two closed intermediates as part of a Government plan to modernise more than 100 Christchurch schools in 10 years.

Education Minister Hekia Parata announced yesterday that Spreydon School will relocate to the Manning Intermediate School site and South Hornby School will move to the Branston Intermediate site in 2017.

Parata unveiled the timetable for the Government's $1.1 billion programme to rebuild and refurbish 115 Christchurch schools over the next 10 years.

Thirteen schools will be built on new sites, 10 rebuilt on existing sites, while 34 schools are to be overhauled and 58 partially redeveloped.

When complete, 80 per cent of the greater Christchurch area's classrooms would be modern learning environments, she said.

The ministry's rationale for closure of Branston Intermediate was that it was ideally located to service new areas of residential growth, and it was estimated to cost $7.9m to fix earthquake damage in all 11 buildings, strengthen five and make one weathertight.

However, Branston Intermediate principal Jennifer O'Leary believed the ministry was against intermediates.

"I think it's a tragedy that in all this rebuilding, nowhere in our area is there a specialist education facility for emerging adolescents."

The school's buildings were fine, she said, and they would even be used for the ministry's reading-recovery administration next year.

The use of its land for South Hornby was "expected", but the relocation of Spreydon School was a surprise.

Both new schools would cost between $5m and $10m.

South Hornby principal Linsday Penman said it was known for some time the 313-pupil school needed to be relocated, but now his community had confirmation.

"When you see what they can do now, it should be quite exciting."

Some parents had moved their children to other areas because they did not want their children completing Year 7 and 8 within a high school setting, he said.

Manning Intermediate principal Richard Chamber said it was "logical" his school's site be used to house Spreydon.

The first schools to be developed and opened next year will be in Pegasus and Halswell.

Lyttelton Main School and Windsor School will follow, being rebuilt in 2015. Redevelopment of Shirley Primary, Papanui School and Woolston-Phillipstown schools, pending further consultation following a judicial review, will start in 2015.

While the Government would be looking to buy construction materials in bulk to save costs, Parata said they were "not proposing to run out lookalikes all over Christchurch".

"It is a 10-year programme, at the end of which I expect the great Christchurch network will be the most modern learning environment in our country." The schools excluded from the building programme included 44 state-integrated schools and 45 other state schools who would receive their property allocation as usual.

The money was coming from the ministry's existing property fund, insurance and a cash injection from Government.

Last year, Labour's associate education spokesman Chris Hipkins discovered through parliamentary questions that about half of the $1b would come from existing baseline funding or insurance recoveries.

"The National Government boldly promised it was going to spend a billion dollars rebuilding schools in Christchurch, but they neglected to mention that half of that was money the schools were going to get anyway to maintain existing buildings, upgrade them, or repair damage," Hipkins said at the time.

Education Minister Parata denied she had misled people.

The Press