Historic Ohaupo classrooms to be demolished
Mark Turnwald learnt to read, write and add numbers in the historic weatherboard classrooms at Ohaupo School.
His mother, father and grandfather were also educated in the almost 100-year-old building.
And his three daughters, twins aged 10 and one 7-year-old, still attend the school in the small town south of Hamilton.
Mr Turnwald knows the significance of the classrooms to the Ohaupo community as well as anyone but, after exploring every option to save them, the board of trustees chairman said they were destined for demolition.
''It's disappointing for me, too,'' he said. ''We've been here as long as anyone.
''My kids are the fifth-generation at the school. That building is part of my heritage and we, as a board, looked at every avenue before we decided upon the one that we're doing. It was the only one, really, that we could pursue.''
He said the board didn't have the money to renovate the old building and intended to replace it with three new classrooms, designed to look like the originals.
''The one that's there leaks and is drafty and it's an earthquake risk and is also rotting and has a whole lot of things that generally make it unsafe health-wise for wee children in the winter especially.''
The board is awaiting final design plans and Mr Turnwald said he would like construction of the new classrooms to get under way as soon as possible.
''At this stage we are finalising our plans and then have to get a price and make sure we can afford to do what we're doing,'' he said.
''Once we get everything sorted we would like to progress as quickly as we can so that the kids are not in that building for next winter.
''They and the teachers tend to get colds and flus more than any other students and staff.''