Building for growth
‘‘It’s definitely more collaborative’’
A new building at an Upper Harbour school means brand-new facilities for junior students as well as preparing the school for future growth.
After two years in the making, Greenhithe School’s new 12-classroom building is finally open for teachers and pupils, who have quickly made themselves at home. Construction on the twostorey classroom block began in January last year and was only recently completed.
Principal Peter Marshall said the building is a modern learning environment while managing to retain individual classes.
‘‘[The students] have only been there two or three days but they love it,’’ he said. ‘‘Anything new is exciting.’’
As well as the individual classrooms, there are eight breakaway spaces which can be used for group work, a writing and reading area, art and technology, for example.
Ten of the classrooms are currently being used, and the remaining two will be used to accommodate future growth, Marshall said.
However, six of the classrooms were not ‘new’ in that they were replacing older style classrooms which will be demolished to upgrade the school’s field area at the end of the year. The school roll presently sits between 500 and 600 pupils.
According to the 2017 Upper Harbour Local Board draft plan, the community is is one of the fastest growing in Auckland. Projections suggest the Upper Harbour population could rise to 93,400 in 2033, a 64 per cent increase on the 2013 Census.
A 2016/17 Ministry of Education report showed 40 schools in the Auckland region are currently over capacity, and 130 schools are over 85 per cent capacity, most with continuing roll growth. Oteha Valley School, Massey’s Royal Road School and Don Buck Primary School, and Upper Harbour Primary School were listed as being at risk for reaching capacity.
Year two team leader Bonita Mowat said she was ‘‘loving’’ the bright, warm space.
‘‘It’s definitely more collaborative,’’ she said. ’’The acoustics of the classrooms [are purpose-built] for the environment.’’
The new building will officially open in term four.
Greenhithe School principal Peter Marshall, year two teacher Adele Chichester with year two team leader Bonita Mowat in the new buildling.