School's upgrades stalled

Kaiapoi Borough School students.
Kaiapoi Borough School students.

A long list of property projects at Kaiapoi Borough School has been on hold for more than two years, and the viability of the land the school sits on remains in doubt.

A geotechnical report following soil analysis in April last year was to be with the school before Christmas, but still has not materialised, principal Ash Maindonald said.

He was astounded by how long the school had been forced to wait.

''I had no idea it would take this long.''

However the long wait may be coming to a close soon.

A Ministry of Education spokesman said a geotechnical report was currently ''being finalised to inform future use of the site'' and would be ''completed very soon''.

In 2011, the school found itself surrounded by many red-zoned properties, but was deemed fit to use.
The school's property funding was ''frozen'' after the September earthquake of 2010, leaving a long list of projects on hold.

These included replacing gutters, repainting parts of the school, upgrading interiors and some toilets, putting a cover over the school pool and upgrading the pool changing sheds.

In 2010 the school had raised $16,000 towards the pool upgrade, had quotes and contractors organised to begin the work, but was forced to abandon the project after the earthquake.

The pool was able to be used, but for a much shorter season as a result.

While Mr Maindonald had received assurance from Minister Hekia Parata the school's future remained certain, he did not know what form it would take and where it would be situated.

If the building sites were untenable for rebuilding, he said they could be rebuilt on a southern section of school land.

''My thinking is if they did rebuild it would be on the field near the railway line, because the northern side is where all the damage and liquefaction occurred,'' Mr Maindonald said.

Other options floated, but rejected by the school community, were a merger with Kaiapoi High School or Kaiapoi North School.

''There is no interest in site sharing, I don't think it's appropriate.  We have our own identity and they have theirs.''

Mr Maindonald said the school community could be reassured the school was well respected and would continue to exist - whatever the outcome of the geotechnical report.

Many red-zoned families forced to move away from the area had continued to bring their children to the school.

''So there's a tremendous amount of loyalty to the school.''

Fairfax Media