Extra $10m in for college rebuild

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern flanked by Education Minister Chris Hipkins and principal Ross Preece on the day of the announcement.

By Mick Jensen

An extra $10million will be invested and 12 more classrooms built in the huge rebuild of Ashburton College.

The total project is now expected to come in at around $60m and will include 76 new classrooms and a complete new look for the school.

In March, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a Government investment of $50m and 64 classrooms, but with the re-working of projected roll growth numbers, that has now increased.

Ashburton College principal Ross Preece said the roll was 1200 and expected to rise to 1350 over the next few years, however the rebuild would cater and plan for roll growth of 1600 and support spaces, including the library and reception areas, would be built with that in mind.

There were now 62 classrooms and adding two more would not cover the projected growth.

Mr Preece said the rebuild project was broken into two main parts, the education brief and the master plan.

“The education brief includes consultation with the community and a definition of what needs to be included in the build.

“There are a number of givens, including ventilation, acoustics and heating, but the other things we need include indoor/outdoor flow, special spaces, single cell rooms and, importantly, flexible learning spaces.”

Being able to open up a space for say 100 students, when necessary, was something that could never happen with the style of the current classroom blocks.

Mr Preece said the master plan had been a work in progress for a number of months and would eventually be signed off to determine how the build process would be managed.

He said there had been 12 submitters to the Government Education Tender Service (GETS) and a shortlist would be announced in the next few weeks.

The Ashburton College build team, which includes Mr Preece, deputy principal Helen Shore-Taylor, college executive office Charlie Kelland and two members of the board of trustees, will look at the shortlist designs alongside senior Ministry of Education staff and project managers and will have an input into the final decision.

Mr Preece said the master plan was due to be signed off by the end of Term 2 next year and it would determine the best place to site buildings and the timeline for the build.

Ashburton College expected a handover of the new look school by December 2025.

“It is a long and lengthy process, but as I keep reiterating, we need to get it right because we need to future proof this school for future generations.”