$10m boost for local schools

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A whopping $10m will be spent on modernising facilities at Ashburton Intermediate and Allenton School over the coming months.

Intermediate’s funding will be used to replace 11 teaching spaces and the old school library and also for strengthening and refurbishment work on eight other teaching spaces.

Allenton School will have five teaching spaces replaced and one new one constructed, along with general weather tightness repairs on other buildings.

Both projects are acknowledged by the government as being “much needed” for those schools and also reflected necessary investment in education in Mid Canterbury, which is one of the fastest-growing rural districts in the country.

Allenton School principal Graham Smith said he was very pleased with the “overdue” funding announcement.

He believed the investment into the school was between $4m and $4.5m.

Mr Smith, who retires at the end of this term and has been principal for seven years, said classes at the school had often used break out rooms and the hall because of a lack of capacity and space issues.

He said the Ministry of Education would manage the upgrade project, with some input from the school, and he would be disappointed if the first sod was not turned before the end of the year.

Ashburton Intermediate School principal Brent Gray is another preparing for a big infrastructure facelift.

Mr Gray said he was looking forward to seeing old and out of date buildings from the 1970s replaced with modern learning spaces, as well as the major upgrade of other buildings.

He said $6m had been allocated for the project and he was happy to be passing the news on to the school board of trustees, students and wider community.