Col­lege to get gym makeover and more

Parata heart­ened by exam re­sults

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Aotea Col­lege’s re­vamp be­gins this year, with mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar up­grades to its gym­na­sium and au­di­to­rium first in line.

Prin­ci­pal Kate Gains­ford has been push­ing hard for up­grades since her ap­point­ment in 2012.

Since Aotea Col­lege opened in 1978, not many of the class­rooms and key build­ings, such as the au­di­to­rium (Te Manawa) and the gym had had any work done on them, she said.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion block was up­graded in 2009.

Ms Gains­ford said she was de­lighted to have a ‘‘ mas­ter plan’’ for up­grad­ing the school signed off by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion last year.

‘‘ It’s hugely ex­cit­ing,’’ she said. ‘‘Start­ing with the gym and au­di­to­rium is im­por­tant be­cause they are the two ends of the school that in­ter­face with the com­mu­nity most.’’

The tired and small gym could be turned into two big­ger gyms, com­plete with park­ing.

Te Manawa would sim­i­larly be com­pletely over­hauled, Ms Gains­ford said.

The work will cost $5 mil­lion to $10m and de­mo­li­tion work – which could in­clude class­rooms nearby – will start this year, car­ried out by build­ing firm Opus.

Ms Gains­ford said one gym would prob­a­bly have a in­ter­na­tional- sized bas­ket­ball court and seat­ing.

Part of the cost of Te Manawa could be cov­ered by Porirua City Coun­cil. Ne­go­ti­a­tions are on­go­ing about a part­ner­ship to cre­ate a per­form­ing arts cen­tre, she said.

The aes­thetic im­prove­ments to the school – which has a roll of 952 and is pro­jected to keep climb­ing – were long over­due, Ms Gains­ford said.

An over­all plan for the rest of the school is in the works, with ev­ery block to be as­sessed.

‘‘I don’t think many of these build­ings have ever been up­graded. We have en­gaged with our school com­mu­nity and the feed­back is so pos­i­tive and now the plans are be­ing worked through.

‘‘We have an ab­so­lutely fab­u­lous spot here and bags of room to re­de­velop, but it’s im­por­tant we get it all done in the right con­text for the school.’’

Ms Gains­ford said she hoped the city coun­cil’s road­ing re­view of Whit­ford Brown Ave would lead to the pedes­trian cross­ing op­po­site the school be­ing repo­si­tioned. She also wanted school buses to drop off and pick up in Okowai Rd, rather than com­ing up the school drive.

Ms Gains­ford said Aotea’s pro­vi­sional 2013 NCEA re­sults were heart­en­ing, and were above aver­age for a school in the decile 4 to 7 range. Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Hekia Parata said the num­ber of stu­dents who passed NCEA level 2 in New Zealand im­proved in 2013.

Pro­vi­sional re­sults show 76.8 per cent of school leavers passed at least level 2, com­pared with 74.3 per cent in 2012.

It was an over­all in­crease of 10 per cent since 2008, the Man­abased MP said. Maori and Pa­cific stu­dent rates were up 4 and 7 per cent, re­spec­tively.

‘‘These re­sults are out­stand­ing and re­flect the great work be­ing done in our schools to raise stu­dent achieve­ment,’’ Ms Parata said.

‘‘It is par­tic­u­larly pleas­ing that this also re­flects a lift in the qual­ity of qual­i­fi­ca­tion since unit stan­dards were re­placed by achieve­ment stan­dards in 2009.’’

She said Na­tional re­mained fo­cused on its tar­get of 85 per cent of 18 year olds achiev­ing NCEA level 2 or an equiv­a­lent qual­i­fi­ca­tion by 2017.

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