Con­struc­tion boom in the mil­lions

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE - KOREN ALLPRESS

Mil­lions of dol­lars are be­ing spent at Ti­maru high schools as class­rooms, gym­na­si­ums and a foyer un­dergo re­fur­bish­ment.

Ti­maru Girls’ High School will have two new mod­ern learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments and is re­fur­bish­ing its gym­na­sium, while Craig­head Dioce­san School is gain­ing a new gym­na­sium, field and out­door area, and tech­nol­ogy learn­ing cen­tre.

Ti­maru Boys’ High School has a new en­trance way to its main of­fice and is look­ing to de­velop sev­eral class­rooms later this term. Craig­head Dioce­san School chair­man of the board of pro­pri­etors Phillipa Guerin said the school had been plan­ning on build­ing a new gym­na­sium for about 15 years, but that was dis­rupted by the Can­ter­bury earth­quakes.

The earth­quakes forced the school to build new ac­com­mo­da­tion for its board­ers, Guerin said. While this re­sulted in a mod­ernised com­plex for the stu­dents to stay in, it de­layed the gym.

Con­struc­tion started on the gym in Fe­bru­ary, and was due for com­ple­tion by term two next year, she said. The con­struc­tion was tak­ing place ad­ja­cent to the school’s ex­ist­ing gym­na­sium, with a build­ing con­nect­ing the two. The old gym­na­sium would be used as a tech­nol­ogy learn­ing cen­tre, Guerin said.

The new gym­na­sium would also have a fit­ness area, kitch­enette for func­tions and a climb­ing wall, she said. The school was also get­ting a new field area, ar­ti­fi­cial turf, and net­ball and ten­nis courts.

Guerin said the con­struc­tion was the cost­ing the school an amount ‘‘in the mil­lions’’. As the school was state in­te­grated it did not re­ceive any fund­ing from the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, she said.

‘‘Gary Rooney, lo­cal busi­ness­man, phi­lan­thropist and past par­ent has do­nated $1 mil­lion, as well as a pro­ject manger.’’

The school also re­ceived grants from cur­rent and past mem­bers of the school’s com­mu­nity, as well as the Ti­maru com­mu­nity, as and as such, was look­ing to make the fa­cil­ity avail­able for use by the com­mu­nity, she said.

Ti­maru Girls’ High School prin­ci­pal Sarah Davis said con­struc­tion was going well. ‘‘We’re due to fin­ish on, I think, the 12th of De­cem­ber,’’ she said.

The school’s stage 1 pro­ject was de­layed in De­cem­ber after as­bestos was found around old pipes, and work be­gan again - once the as­bestos was re­moved, in July.

Class­rooms 11 and 12 were be­ing trans­formed into mod­ern learn­ing ar­eas, and have been reroofed and re-cladded. Builders were in the process of ‘‘sort­ing out’’ the in­te­rior, Davis said.

The school waited un­til the end of win­ter so that its phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion stu­dents could make use of its gym­na­sium dur­ing the cooler months. As such, con­struc­tion on it did not be­gin un­til Septem­ber 29, she said.

Davis said con­struc­tion should be fin­ished by the end of this year, and open for use at the start of next year. The $1.3 mil­lion pro­ject came about as a re­sult of roll growth, and the school’s five-year plan.

Ti­maru Boys’ High School rec­tor Nick McIvor said its new foyer was re­cently com­pleted - but not yet of­fi­cially opened, and the school was now look­ing to­wards de­vel­op­ing sev­eral of its class­rooms. ‘‘We’re un­der­way this term with plan­ning for what will be the up­grad­ing for eight to 11 class­room re­fur­bish­ments.’’

A team was work­ing to fi­nalise a de­sign in the com­ing weeks and McIvor hoped con­struc­tion would be­gin to­wards the end of the year. McIvor said the class­room pro­ject would be funded through the school’s five year-plan. He be­lieved it would cost about half-a-mil­lion dol­lars.

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