School's $2million redevelopment is underway
A Taranaki school has begun a $2 million redevelopment that will see it lose 12 classrooms but gain a park, cafe and a new library which will be shared with the wider community.
Waitara High School has more classrooms than it needs, according to Ministry of Education guidelines, so work is underway to make better use of the space.
Under the plans, the library is being moved to the front of the school, along with a new food technology development that can be used as a cafe.
The area around them is being turned into a park, complete with basketball hoops.
Principal Daryl Warburton said he envisioned allowing the cafe and library space to be open to the public, so while parents are typing in the library or attending a parenting course, their kids can be playing outside.
"You come on a weekend here or even after school there's 20, 30 people using those hoops. We literally have people waiting out the front of school for the bell to go so they can come in."
The school is also looking at serving dinner in the cafe a couple of times a week.
"When I want to go out for a meal here in Waitara it's a little bit hard to find something," Warburton said.
"We want it to be a smart intergenerational space."
Warburton also wants people to get involved in the redevelopment.
"We want to have working bees. When you're with a shovel next to someone, there's community in that."
He said the students were excited about the change, with some Year 12s now planning to return for Year 13.
The school is also reviewing its curriculum and planning to bring in Level 3 qualifications, such as those students can complete at the Western Institute of Technology.
"I'd love to run a school where kids can't wait to get in," Warburton said.
"You go to third world countries and you see that, and they understand the power of education."
He hopes to start the food tech development in about six weeks.
The 12 old classrooms are set to be demolished over the Christmas break and the whole redevelopment should be finished by the end of next year.
"I think the whole of this part of Princess St will be quite different in a couple of years," Warburton said.
"It will be quite a vibrant place both with the sports facility and the school."