• Wyatt Creech

Education Minister Wyatt Creech has authorised the Ministry of Education to purchase part of the Fort Dorset land in Seatoun, Wellington, to establish a school.

"The purchase will allow Seatoun Primary School to be relocated and enlarged on the surplus defence land,'' said Mr Creech.

"The decision comes after extensive consultation with schools and analysis of new census information," Mr Creech said. "There is a consensus that the preferred option is to relocate the existing school to the more suitable Fort Dorset site."

Mr Creech said that buying the 2.5 hectares at Fort Dorset would mean the Ministry could accommodate increases in student numbers in the Seatoun area now and in the future.

"The existing school can be relocated and added to as and when required.''

Seatoun School currently has a roll of 311, and 11 classrooms. The new school site will allow for Seatoun's existing roll and expected future growth in the area.

The Ministry of Education identified the potential site two years ago when the New Zealand Defence Force first announced surplus land at Fort Dorset.

"Pressure on the roll at Seatoun Primary has continued over the years, and has only been curbed by an enrolment scheme.

"The existing school site is small and constrained. The only room for extra classrooms would be if a second storey was added to existing school buildings. This is not only more expensive, but also comes at a cost of reducing playing field space per pupil below acceptable levels.

The Ministry of Education has consulted with the Wellington Tenths Trust over the use of the land for a school.

The Fort Dorset site provides a quality property solution for Seatoun Primary and work done over the past couple of years between the Ministry of Education and the school means there is a clear idea of what the school's needs are for the future."

Mr Creech said the Ministry of Education would now go ahead and purchase the land and start developing a timeline for construction and relocation of Seatoun Primary School.