Timaru high schools undergoing million dollar refurbishments

Craighead Diocesan School chairman of the board of proprietors Phillipa Guerin looks over the school's new gymnasium complex.
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/STUFF

Craighead Diocesan School chairman of the board of proprietors Phillipa Guerin looks over the school's new gymnasium complex.

Millions of dollars are being spent at Timaru high schools as classrooms, gymnasiums and a foyer undergo refurbishment.

Timaru Girls' High School will have two new modern learning environments and is refurbishing its gymnasium, while Craighead Diocesan School is gaining a new gymnasium, field and outdoor area, and technology learning centre.

Timaru Boys' High School has a new entrance way to its main office and is looking to develop several classrooms later this term.

The entrance way to the new gymnasium complex under construction at Craighead Diocesan School. Construction was due to ...
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/STUFF

The entrance way to the new gymnasium complex under construction at Craighead Diocesan School. Construction was due to be completed by term two, 2018.

Craighead Diocesan School chairman of the board of proprietors Phillipa Guerin said the school had been planning on building a new gymnasium for about 15 years, but that was disrupted by the Canterbury earthquakes.

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The earthquakes forced the school to build new accommodation for its boarders, Guerin said.

While this resulted in a modernised complex for the students to stay in, it delayed the gym.

Construction started on the gym in February, and was due for completion by term two next year, she said. 

"The wonderful thing about the construction of the gym is it's not just a gym."

The construction was taking place adjacent to the school's existing gymnasium, with a building connecting the two. The old gymnasium would be used as a technology learning centre, Guerin said.

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The new gymnasium would also have a fitness area, kitchenette for functions and a climbing wall, she said. 

The school was also getting a new field area, artificial turf, and netball and tennis courts.

Guerin said the construction was the costing the school an amount "in the millions".

As the school was state integrated it did not receive any funding from the Ministry of Education, she said.

"Gary Rooney, local businessman, philanthropist and past parent has donated $1 million, as well as a project manger," she said.

That had given the school a "significant advantage" in getting the project forward.

The school also received grants from current and past members of the school's community, as well as the Timaru community, as and as such, was looking to make the facility available for use by the community, she said.

Thompson Construction and Engineering site manager Mike McEwing said construction was running on schedule.

Timaru Girls' High School principal Sarah Davis said construction was going well.

"We're due to finish on, I think, the 12th of December," she said. 

The school's stage 1 project was delayed in December after asbestos was found around old pipes, and work began again - once the asbestos was removed, in July. 

Classrooms 11 and 12 were being transformed into modern learning areas, and have been re-roofed and re-cladded. Builders were in the process of "sorting out" the interior, Davis said.

The school waited until the end of winter so that its physical education students could make use of its gymnasium during the cooler months.

As such, construction on it did not begin until September 29, she said.

"Everything's been going well, no set backs, and it's starting to really look fantastic."

Davis said construction should be finished by the end of this year, and open for use at the start of next year.

The $1.3 million project came about as a result of roll growth, and the school's five-year plan.

Timaru Boys' High School rector Nick McIvor said its new foyer was recently completed - but not yet officially opened, and the school was now looking towards developing several of its classrooms.

"We're underway this term with planning for what will be the upgrading for eight to 11 classroom refurbishments," he said.

A team was working to finalise a design in the coming weeks and McIvor hoped construction would begin towards the end of the year.

McIvor said the classroom project would be funded through the school's five year-plan.

He believed it would cost about half-a-million dollars.

 - Stuff

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