Extra $12m for two Auckland schools to address roll growth

  • Nikki Kaye

The scope of redevelopments already planned for two Auckland schools has been expanded prior to work starting, to accommodate further roll growth, Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye announced today.

“An extra $6.8 million will be invested in the Waterview Primary School redevelopment, taking the total value of this project to $17 million, and an extra $5 million will be invested in the Freemans Bay School redevelopment, taking the total value of this project to $18 million,” says Ms Kaye.

“In the communities served by these schools, updated demographic information shows there will be more school-age children than was forecasted when the redevelopments were originally approved.

“The extra investment is part of the Government’s plan to get ahead of demand in Auckland. As our largest city with a fast-growing population, it’s important we move to accommodate anticipated roll growth before it happens.”

Projections indicate there will be an extra 107,000 school students in Auckland over the next 30 years.

“The Waterview Primary School redevelopment was initially driven by the construction of the Waterview Tunnel, which required some school buildings to be demolished and moved.

“However, changes in the local community such as more in-fill housing and adjacent special housing areas are likely to generate significant extra demand for school places.

“The school redevelopment will now allow for a roll of 280, compared to its current roll of around 178 students. Key facilities and underground infrastructure will also be designed to enable capacity to be increased to 800 if necessary in the future.

“As in other parts of Auckland, the challenge of meeting growing rolls and maintaining outdoor recreation areas means two-storeyed teaching spaces will be built at Waterview Primary School.

“At Freemans Bay School, the extra investment will help cater for a roll of 600, compared to the current roll of around 456, and allow for future capacity for 1200 students if necessary.

“This redevelopment project was driven primarily by the school’s aged buildings, which need replacing, and weathertightness and asbestos issues.

“Roll growth for up to 500 students was initially factored into the project, but the popularity of the area has led to this being revised.

“As with any significant school redevelopments, the focus will be on providing innovative learning environments at both schools. This means there will be flexible teaching spaces that can be easily reconfigured to suit different teaching and learning needs on the day, and acoustics, lighting, heating and air quality will all be of a high standard to help students concentrate on learning.

“Other schools in New Zealand are experiencing roll growth and we’re committed to meeting that, too. However, the pace and scale of the changes in Auckland is particularly marked.

“Last year, the Government announced it would invest $350 million over four years to get ahead of demand in our biggest city.

“It’s important that we can respond to changing trends in Auckland, to ensure all students have access to facilities that inspire and support them to achieve to the best of their potential.”

The expanded scope of the redevelopments announced today is not expected to alter the timeline of the projects, with work at both schools scheduled to begin in early 2016 and be completed in 2017.