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Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

The technology build­ing, once part of the Delta air force base on Wai­hopai Val­ley Rd in the 1940s, still had black­boards and chalk.

‘‘Ev­ery­where you go here, there’s his­tory. How do you trans­fer the his­tory on the walls here onto another site?’’ He­garty said.

‘‘One of your min­istry peo­ple did say we could take the stained glass win­dow.’’

Marl­bor­ough Boys’ Col­lege board of trus­tees co-deputy chair­woman Lynette Rayner said some staff op­posed the plan to colo­cate the col­leges side-by-side on a new green­field site when it was an­nounced in 2015.

‘‘There are staff that want to stay here, but a very small group of staff. Orig­i­nally it was a large num­ber but once they got out with their peers to see what’s avail­able, you could feel the change in their tone.

‘‘Out of a staff of 65, prob­a­bly 60-odd teach­ers sup­port it now. At first, it was more like 70/30.’’

Over at the Marl­bor­ough Girls’ Col­lege, prin­ci­pal Mary­jeanne Lynch said al­most ev­ery build­ing on the Mclauch­lan St cam­pus had on­go­ing is­sues.

‘‘And these are is­sues that are pretty sig­nif­i­cant,’’ Lynch said.

The ca­reers room was damp and ‘‘smelly’’, but was still be­ing used as there were no other suit­able rooms.

It had to be checked reg­u­larly for mould, Lynch said.

The sci­ence and technology class­rooms, built in the 90s, had in­ter­nal gut­ter­ing that leaked.

Some build­ings had faulty wiring, and some needed earth­quake strength­en­ing, Lynch said.

‘‘Peo­ple say this is a beau­ti­ful school. But what they don’t see is the stuff that’s go­ing on be­hind the walls,’’ Lynch told Hip­kins.

‘‘We’re do­ing our best and we just keep re­pair­ing things.’’

The com­mu­nity pre­ferred colo­ca­tion, Lynch said.

‘‘Co-lo­ca­tion is about hav­ing the best of both worlds. It can be what­ever you want it to be. It’s got to re­flect what the com­mu­nity wants and we can ac­tu­ally make it work both ways with colo­ca­tion.

‘‘And if you want to mod­ify the build­ings to have dif­fer­ent learn­ing spa­ces and skill-based ed­u­ca­tion, then it’s ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to do that with our cur­rent build­ings, and ex­tremely ex­pen­sive.’’

The prin­ci­pals had ‘‘made the case’’ for co-lo­ca­tion ‘‘very strongly’’, Hip­kins said.

He would not be con­sult­ing the pub­lic again on that point, say­ing it was clear the com­mu­nity pre­ferred co-lo­ca­tion.

‘‘I don’t want to go back to the draw­ing board,’’ Hip­kins said.

‘‘The main thing is se­cur­ing a site. So we’re con­tin­u­ing to ex­plore the pos­si­bil­ity of a green­field site and up­dat­ing the costs in­volved.

‘‘We know from ex­pe­ri­ence, with the co-lo­ca­tion of Avon­side Girls’ and Shirley Boys’ in Christchurch that it will prob­a­bly cost more than what was ini­tially bud­geted.

‘‘We also talked to the [Marl­bor­ough District] coun­cil, which has of­fered its help with find­ing a site.’’

But if a green­field site could not be found, the min­istry would have to con­sider other op­tions, Hip­kins said.

‘‘I don’t want to see this drag on for­ever.

‘‘The lo­cal com­mu­nity has waited long enough. It’s been about five years and I re­ally want to see some ac­tion.’’

Mayor John Leggett, who hosted Hip­kins’ tour, said it was en­cour­ag­ing to hear the process was pro­gress­ing ‘‘with­out de­lay’’.

Leggett had sug­gested to Hip­kins sev­eral po­ten­tial sites for co-lo­ca­tion, he said.

‘‘Coun­cil will con­tinue to play a strate­gic plan­ning role in the min­istry’s fu­ture dis­cus­sions and pro­pos­als. I’m con­fi­dent we have value to add,’’ Leggett said.

‘‘There is no doubt at all that we need this in­vest­ment in our sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties and that Marl­bor­ough de­serves it.’’

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