Western Springs $79m re­build

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - CA­TRIN OWEN

Work has be­gun on New Zealand’s largest ever pub­lic school re­build.

The be­gin­ning of the work on Western Springs Col­lege was marked with a bless­ing and sod turn­ing on Septem­ber 16.

As­so­ci­ate Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Nikki Kaye an­nounced in Novem­ber the Govern­ment would in­vest $75 mil­lion in the re­build, while an ad­di­tional $4 mil­lion would be spent on up­grad­ing the Auck­land Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre (TAPAC).

Over the next two years, 80 per cent of the school will be de­mol­ished and a new state-of-the-art fa­cil­ity will be built in its place.

Act­ing prin­ci­pal Ivan Davis spoke at the cer­e­mony and ac­knowl­edged the ab­sence of Kaye, re­cently di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer, who has long ad­vo­cated for the project.

‘‘For us this is an epic mo­ment, the jour­ney of Western Springs Col­lege has been long, but we’re ex­cited,’’ he says.

‘‘We know that the build that we’re go­ing to turn the sod for to­day for 1800 stu­dents is not go­ing to be enough and the plans for 2500 will be in the near fu­ture.’’

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Hekia Parata was in at­ten­dance and con­grat­u­lated the school, the board and mem­bers of the Ngati Whatua on the work.

‘‘The col­lege is built on a for­mer land­fill and quarry, which means there are con­sid­er­able geotech­ni­cal chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with the site,’’ she says.

‘‘How­ever, the site is ide­ally po­si­tioned to serve sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties, so this is an im­por­tant in­vest­ment in the lo­cal school net­work.’’

WSC board chair John Loof says the re­build will in­volve re­moval of land­fill ma­te­rial down to un­der­ly­ing basalt rock to pro­vide foun­da­tion for the new build­ings.

The new school will con­sist of a large three-storey teach­ing block and new sports, li­brary, teach­ing and sup­port fa­cil­i­ties and a new two­s­torey block will be built for the school’s te reo Maori im­mer­sion unit.

The first stage of the project is set­ting up the tem­po­rary school to house stu­dents dur­ing the re­build which will start dur­ing the up­com­ing school hol­i­days.

Loof says the con­struc­tion of the new school will be­gin in 2017 and the board is com­mit­ted to main­tain­ing a pro­duc­tive and safe en­vi­ron­ment for the stu­dents and staff for it to open at the be­gin­ning of 2019.

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