Glimpse at new look WSC

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - ALAS­TAIR LYNN

Plans for New Zealand’s largest ever pub­lic school re­build have been re­leased.

The $79 mil­lion in­vest­ment will see Western Springs Col­lege al­most en­tirely re­built.

Nearly 80 per cent of ex­ist­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion will be re­placed, but in­stead of a sprawl­ing cam­pus - the di­rec­tion is up.

A three-storey teach­ing block will re­place the bulk of the school’s class­rooms.

Western Springs Col­lege act­ing prin­ci­pal Ivan Davis says the build­ing was one of the big­gest chal­lenges of the plan­ning phase.

‘‘It was a mat­ter of find­ing the best geotech­ni­cal lo­ca­tion within the site,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s a pri­mary fo­cus of the [Min­istry of Education] with their aim be­ing able to max­imise open space.’’

The decile 8 school was built on a re­stored land­fill site in 1963 but the land and build­ings have caused headaches ever since.

Talk of a school re­build be­gan af­ter geotech­ni­cal sur­veys were con­ducted on the site in 2010.

‘‘They’ve al­ready done two test digs on site,’’ Davis says.

‘‘The aim is to re­move all of the ma­te­rial down to the basalt and re­place all the fill to en­sure strong foun­da­tions and min­imise con­tam­i­nants.

‘‘When con­struc­tion be­gins it will just im­pact on one build­ing only so we’ll be able to keep op­er­at­ing with just eight re­lo­cat­able class­rooms on site.’’

Once com­pleted the school will be able to cater to 1700 stu­dents.

Davis says there will be po­ten­tial to ex­pand in the fu­ture for up to 2500 stu­dents.

About $75 mil­lion will be spent on the school with a fur­ther $4 mil­lion put to­wards The Auck­land Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre (TAPAC) on the school’s grounds.

The build in­cludes two new teach­ing blocks and will cre­ate 64 new teach­ing spa­ces, 12 of which will be set aside for Nga Puna o Waiorea - the col­lege’s Maori im­mer­sion-Ru­maki unit.

Davis says plan­ning for the in­te­rior de­sign of the school is still in its in­fancy but learn­ing spa­ces will be both ver­ti­cally and hor­i­zon­tally con­nected.

‘‘Right now we have ar­chi­tects and the heads of de­part­ments work­ing out how we can best fit cur­ricu­lum ar­eas of ex­cel­lence.

‘‘There is still a long way to go.’’

Con­struc­tion is ex­pected to start be­tween late 2016 and mid 2017. Com­ple­tion is set for 2018.

PHOTO: MIN­ISTRY OF EDUCATION

The re­build will in­clude 64 new teach­ing spa­ces built over a three-storey block.

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