Sho­tover not short on pupils

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - DASHA KUPRIENKO

Two years af­ter it opened, Sho­tover Pri­mary School is ap­proach­ing its ca­pac­ity.

About 340 chil­dren are en­rolled to at­tend the fast-grow­ing Queen­stown school when it opens for the year on Fe­bru­ary 7. The cur­rent ca­pac­ity is for 450 pupils.

Sho­tover Pri­mary School prin­ci­pal Ben Withe­ford said stage two of the school would al­low an­other 200 pupils to join the school, with long-term plans for 850 stu­dents.

‘‘[Stage two] will be built at some point this year, ready for us to be us­ing it the fol­low­ing year,’’ he said.

Withe­ford was sur­prised at the rate of growth, but said it was hard to pre­dict in the Wakatipu Basin. Keep­ing up with the growth was an ex­cit­ing chal­lenge.

‘‘You would rather have the growth chal­lenge than shrink­ing chal­lenge.’’

The sec­ond stage of the build will in­clude an im­proved build­ing de­sign, with big­ger break-out spa­ces and slight changes in the art zones.

‘‘They are not huge things. We are not chang­ing the struc­ture of it, but just to make it work a bit more ef­fi­ciently,’’ he said.

The school al­ways had a three stage plan, but Withe­ford said it was too early to dis­cuss the third stage.

There were two rea­sons be­hind the school’s growth, he said.

The first was Queen­stown peo­ple build­ing in Sho­tover Coun­try and en­rolling their chil­dren at the school.

The sec­ond rea­son was fam­i­lies mov­ing into the area, mainly from Auck­land.

The school was in a safe lo­ca­tion, sur­rounded by tracks, and par­ents liked it too, Withe­ford said.

To keep up with the num­ber of pupils, a few po­si­tions have been ad­ver­tised to add to last year’s 20 teach­ers.

‘‘It’s con­stant, need­ing to find not just teach­ing staff but sup­port staff... [We are try­ing] to plan ahead rather than re­act to growth.’’

No mat­ter how many up­grades the school would go through, Withe­ford said he was look­ing for­ward to work­ing with ‘‘great peo­ple’’.

‘‘We get a chance to build our cul­ture and our think­ing around learn­ing from scratch, and con­tin­u­ing to do that this year is what ex­cites peo­ple.’’

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