Class­rooms to ease pres­sure

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

Li­braries, cor­ri­dors and read­ing re­source rooms have been con­verted into class­rooms at Cromwell Pri­mary School. That is set to change.

As­so­ciate Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Tim Macin­doe was in Cromwell on Wed­nes­day to an­nounce as part of Bud­get 2017, $5 mil­lion will be in­vested in new class­rooms for Cromwell Pri­mary, Gold­fields Pri­mary School in Cromwell and Sho­tover Pri­mary School in Queen­stown.

Cromwell Pri­mary will re­ceive $2m for four new class­rooms, Gold­fields Pri­mary will re­ceive $1m for two new class­rooms and Sho­tover Pri­mary will re­ceive $2m for four new class­rooms.

Cromwell Pri­mary School prin­ci­pal Wendy Brooks said the school had been op­er­at­ing at 124 per cent ca­pac­ity for more than a year, and the sit­u­a­tion was ur­gent.

Spa­ces in­clud­ing cor­ri­dors, a read­ing re­source room and li­brary had been con­verted into class­rooms be­cause of space short­ages, she said.

‘‘We might be able to get our li­brary back which has been a class­room for two years...The new learn­ing hub just opened and that en­abled us to take a class out of the cor­ri­dor and new en­trants now have a class- room be­cause they were in a read­ing re­source room.’’

The schools nor­mally worked in a ‘‘deficit model’’ and the an­nounce­ment would al­low the schools to for­ward plan.

‘‘We have had to work so hard. A lot of our time is taken up work­ing with prop­erty matters....We feel the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion has lis­tened.’’

Gold­fields Pri­mary School’s Sharon Booth said with a grow­ing re­gion the schools were strug­gling to ac­com­mo­date chil­dren in learn­ing spa­ces.

‘‘This (an­nounce­ment) en­ables us to move for­ward and for­ward plan. In the past it has been back­ward...We had new en­trants in a por­ta­com.’’

A ‘‘mo­du­lar so­lu­tion’’ would be used and de­sign and build teams from Christchurch who had ex­pe­ri­ence in the earth­quake re­build would be con­tracted to un­der­take the work.

Macin­doe said the in­vest­ment was part of a $456.5m in­vest­ment in ed­u­ca­tion in­fras­truc­ture and as­so­ci­ated op­er­at­ing costs as part of this year’s bud­get.

‘‘The fund­ing shows our con­tin­u­ing com­mit­ment to pro­vid­ing in­fras­truc­ture to schools in high growth ar­eas.’’

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