Seven Waikato schools leaky

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 15:53 25/06/2014
leaky schools
Fairfax NZ

PAST PROBLEMS: Now-repaired Te Rapa School had work done in 2011 after leaks were discovered.

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At least seven schools around the Waikato have leaky buildings and three them are tied up in legal proceedings.

But there could be more affected schools around the region, as the Ministry of Education response to queries only covered schools in the Waikato district and Hamilton City.

Nationwide, 351 schools have been identified as having weathertightness issues, according to a recent Taranaki Daily News article.

In the Waikato, Hamilton Girls' High School, Berkley Normal Middle School, Peachgrove Intermediate and Te Kowhai School were named by the ministry.

Three further schools subject where the issues were subject to legal proceedings were not named ''to enable the Ministry to carry out commercial negotiations without prejudice or disadvantage'', head of education infrastructure service Kim Shannon said.

At Berkley Normal Middle School classrooms, the library and culture centre were affected to varying extents.

The school was at the early stages of assessing the weathertight issues,  principal Judd McLauchlan said, but it wouldn't affect teaching and learning.

The watertight problem areas were around Shadowclad plywood panelling.

''We've got parts of the school that have got Shadowclad on which is fine. And we've got parts of the school that have got Shadowclad on that's not good,'' he said.

Some of that cladding was put on existing buildings just five years ago.

McLauchlan had been through a leaky school repair process at a previous school and said it was a matter of being prepared to work with the ministry - and put the time.

''It consumes a lot of time, which is pretty frustrating,'' he said.

''At the end of the day, we all want a positive outcome for our community schools.''

Hamilton Girls' High School and Peachgrove Intermediate were not available for comment at this time.

And Te Kowhai School principal Tony Grey was surprised to hear his school had been named by the ministry.

''The guts of our buildings were all built prior to the period that is concerned,'' he said.

Contractors had tested some of their blocks and some cladding had shown signs weather damage.

Further testing was expected but Grey said there were no major concerns.

''Ours is not falling under the leaky buildings ... like the big problem stuff. We're certainly not in that case.''

Other Waikato schools have battled problems with watertightness in the past, including Te Rapa School, which had serious issues.

The first signs of weather damage began to appear about six years ago and problems were eventually discovered in every building, sparking a 15-month rebuild.

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