Big build project at St Joseph’s

St Joseph's School principal Cath Blacklow is looking forward to the completion of four new classrooms, which is part of a long-term building plan at the school.

The work is the start of a long-term plan costing over $1 million and funded by the Catholic Development Fund; a cyclic fund administered by the church to its schools.

It is also topped up with state integrated school infrastructure funding from government of around $172,000, which would ensure the work was fully finished with interior fittings.

Principal Cath Blacklow said the bigger, long-term plan would see the removal of a section of older classrooms and a utility block near the new build, the extension of the existing office block and staffroom area into one of the classrooms and would allow other spaces to be repurposed.

“It’s really great … the funding streams have aligned,” she said, which had enabled the work to get under way.

It was being done by Hanham and Philip Contractors, of Christchurch, and was expected to be finished in time for Term 4.

Mrs Blacklow said pupils would have four new classrooms and, as a bonus, a new half-sized basketball court using existing basketball hoops but with a refurbished playing surface.

The school has a roll of 250 pupils, which by the end of the year would likely sit at 265, its maximum level. But there were no plans, or any need, to build extra classrooms, Mrs Blacklow said.

The new classrooms were going to be modern-plan and could be used as stand alone classrooms or opened up. They would also have kitchen facilities.

The existing staff classroom would become an office for learning support coordinator Sheree Tait who was based at the school but also worked with pupils at Wakanui and Ashburton Christian schools.

There were also plans to build a school hall on the grounds, Mrs Blacklow said.