Western Springs $79m rebuild
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.