School future proofed
AN INNER city primary is preparing for a complete overhaul after learning it will get around $10 million for new school buildings.
Education minister Hekia Parata announced this month that Freemans Bay School will be redeveloped to accommodate its increasing roll and repair leaking buildings.
The school will retain two facilities – a Reading Recovery room and a two-storey block that was opened in 2010.
‘‘Apart from those two buildings pretty much everything else will disappear and a new school will emerge,’’ board of trustees chairman Peter Bateman says.
The school is zoned for the suburb of Freemans Bay and the central business district.
Principal Sandra Jenkins says intensification has seen the roll climb significantly.
‘‘When I was appointed six years ago the school roll was sitting at about 375, today it would be 460,’’ she says.
‘‘It is the biggest area of growth in New Zealand, so it’s about future proofing, so that we can accommodate a lot more students.’’
Another driver is to replace dilapidated buildings with modern learning environments.
‘‘Most of the buildings are around 40 years old and are in a state of decline and not particularly suitable as teaching spaces,’’ Mr Bateman says.
The hall the board has been fundraising for since 2002 will be built at the same time.
The design is yet to be decided but it is likely the school will grow upwards.
‘‘We have lovely trees and grounds here and we want to keep that,’’ Ms Jenkins says. ‘‘Many of our students live in apartments in the inner city, and besides having a lovely green environment for the school, it’s also about the families who use it after school and on the weekends.’’
The development is part of the education ministry’s eight-point plan to transform the way school property is delivered to better support 21st Century environments.
‘‘We know that great teaching and learning goes on in our schools, but having modern learning environments just makes the whole process of raising achievement for all our young people that much easier,’’ Ms Parata says.
Work is expected to be completed by August 2015.
Modern era: Freemans Bay School board of trustees chairman Peter Bateman and principal Sandra Jenkins say this will be the school’s fourth redesign since it opened in 1888.