School rebuild set to start

Allenton School principal Bruce Tilby in front of the junior playground where fencing will go up soon ahead of the classroom build project.

It’s been a long process and interrupted by covid, but a big rebuild project at Allenton School is set to break ground next month.

Seven new classrooms will be built on the Allens Road side of the school and the junior playground, part of the main playground and PE shed will be dismantled and fencing erected around the construction site.

The Allens Road school entrance is likely to be closed for the duration of the build, which is expected to be 12 months.

The new classrooms will provide a modern learning space for middle school students and possibly some junior classes.

Once the build has been completed the current middle school block will be demolished and courts and playgrounds will replace the 1960s classrooms.

Allenton School principal Bruce Tilby said he was excited and relieved that construction was close to starting.

It had been a long, slow road to this point and the project was a massive and overdue development for the school.

Funding of between $4.5million and $5m has been approved for the capital works project in February 2018 and two years later it was expected to start.

Covid had been one of the reasons for the delay, he said.

On the bright side the project had recently been given a further injection of funding from the Ministry of Education (MOE), although the exact amount had not yet been revealed.

“We will be meeting with the Ministry to determine the priority areas for the shovel ready money and look at where it can be best spent.

“It may be used to increase the quality of the build and some may be put towards the re-establishment of new courts and playgrounds.”

Mr Tilby said a pre-start meeting with MOE officials and key members of the construction team was planned for August 31.

The Logic Group will manage the project and also the rebuild and renovation project at Ashburton Intermediate School.

Once the project had been ticked off by Allenton School discussions will continue with the MOE about opportunities for more capital works.

Mr Tilby said the school roll was expected to grow from 425 to 550 over the next five years and more classrooms would be needed.

It was the largest primary school in Ashburton and lucky that it had a big footprint and a well-developed master plan to work from.

Allenton School is close to finishing a refurbishment of the school hall, including kitchen, toilet and stage upgrades, which has made the space more viable and comfortable.

The upgrade is costing $350,000 and most of that ($270,00) will come from the Government’s School Investment Package.

-By Mick Jensen