Shotover not short on pupils
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.’’