High school and houses fast-tracked

Central Otago Mirror - - OUT & ABOUT - DASHA KU­PRIENKO

Plans to in­crease ca­pac­ity at Queen­stown’s new high school will be fast tracked to cope with pro­jected growth, CluthaSouth­land MP Todd Barclay has an­nounced.

Gov­ern­ment fund­ing would in­crease the new multi-mil­lion dol­lar Wakatipu High School ca­pac­ity from 1200 to 1800 stu­dents, he said last week.

‘‘We know how fast our pop­u­la­tion is grow­ing and there’s a real need to ac­com­mo­date more stu­dents in our schools and get ahead of growth trends.

‘‘I have made a point of com­mu­ni­cat­ing this to the min­is­ter a num­ber of times, so I am pleased that those con­ver­sa­tions have paid off,’’ he said.

The new school at Re­mark­ables Park will fea­ture a fully-equipped theatre, a dance area, a record­ing stu­dio and aer­o­bics room and is sched­uled to open for the 2018 school year.

Wakatipu High School prin­ci­pal Steve Hall said the fast­track­ing was great news and was much needed for the school.

‘‘We’ve done so much work on this be­cause we were con­cerned that we were go­ing to move into a brand new school and be full very quickly.

‘‘That has hap­pened be­fore here in Wakatipu and it’s fan­tas­tic that they’ve lis­tened and done some­thing about this,’’ Hall said.

Barclay said he was also work­ing closely with Hous­ing Min­is­ter Nick Smith to speed up a worker ac­com­mo­da­tion project at the school’s cur­rent lo­ca­tion on Gorge Rd.

The gov­ern­ment-owned land would have to go through a ’’long process’’ be­fore be­com­ing avail­able to the pub­lic. It could take many years, he said.

‘‘What we are try­ing to do is ex­pe­dite that process and un­der the law you can’t do it un­til the school has re­lo­cated to the new site.’’

Barclay said they were work­ing on whether a law change was needed or if they could do it un­der cur­rent law.

‘‘It hasn’t been done be­fore so it would be the first time they have done it,’’ Barclay said.

If the fast-track­ing goes ahead, con­struc­tion on the cur­rent site would start as soon as Wakatipu High School moves to the Re­mark­ables.

Barclay said the Gorge Rd area was suit­able for worker ac­com­mo­da­tion.

‘‘It’s easy, it’s close to town, right out­side the su­per­mar­ket and pub­lic trans­port - ideal work­ers ac­com­mo­da­tion,’’ he said.

DASHA KU­PRIENKO

Wakatipu High School Prin­ci­pal Steve Hall with Clutha-South­land MP Todd Barclay.

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