School fu­ture proofed

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

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.

learn­ing

Photo: DANIELLE STREET

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.

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