19 Nov 2015

Fifth major school rebuild announced

3:32 pm on 19 November 2015

The government has announced its fifth multi-million-dollar school redevelopment in as many weeks - $39 million to construct two new buildings at Wellington East Girls' College.

Earthquake strengthening at Wellington East Girls' College

Earthquake-strengthening being carried out on an existing building at Wellington East Girls' College. Photo: RNZ/John Gerritsen

The project is part of government efforts to address school property problems including leaky classrooms, quake-strengthening and roll growth that are expected to cost about $6 billion over the next 10 years.

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It follows the recent announcement of redevelopments at Balmoral School, Takapuna Grammar, and Western Springs College in Auckland, and at Aotea College in Porirua.

The cost of those schemes and of the Wellington East redevelopment totals $188m.

Wellington East's work is required because its main block, built in 1924, was found in 2011 to be well below building code requirements for earthquake resistance.

National MP

Education Minister Hekia Parata Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Since then the government has spent $9m strengthening the land the school stands on and demolishing the main block but retaining its facade.

The $39m announced on Thursday will be used to construct two new buildings, one of them behind the old block's facade, by 2019.

The school's board of trustees chairperson, Amanda Malu, said the school had been waiting for a decision on its future.

"We're really pleased to have the announcement made and to have this funding dedicated to the girls' of the eastern suburbs - it's been a long time coming."

"Our girls have spent several cold, wet winters schlepping around a building site, and we know we've got a few more years of that ahead of us, but they're an amazing bunch of girls and an amazing bunch of staff and they'll get through it and we'll have a new main building to show for it."

Education Minister Hekia Parata said the project would allow Wellington East to grow to a roll of 1250 students and give it classrooms that suited modern teaching styles.

"Once the work is complete almost half the school's teaching space will have been upgraded and transformed into flexible, open and light spaces that can be changed to meet learning and teaching needs."

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