Anna is a reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Tauranga schools building boost to accommodate student influx

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Pillans Point School Board of Trustees chairman Michael Attwood, Tauranga MP Simon Bridges, and Principal Matt Simeon. Photo/Andrew Warner.
Pillans Point School Board of Trustees chairman Michael Attwood, Tauranga MP Simon Bridges, and Principal Matt Simeon. Photo/Andrew Warner.

New classrooms are going up across the Bay as schools struggle to find space to cope with increasing rolls.

Pillans Point is one of the latest schools to move outwards with the construction of eight new classrooms underway.

Principal Matt Simeon said the classrooms were entirely roll growth funded, after a large increase of students in the last three years.

"We're underway which is great," he said.

Mr Simeon said he was looking forward to the additional classrooms.

"We've got five classrooms in the school hall and two new entrant classes in another space."

He said it had been a "long process", which began about three years ago.

The new classrooms were expected to be completed in January, with staff and the community seemingly more excited than the students, he said.

The site had been delayed by six weeks of archaeological investigation, which Mr Simeon said produced "significant findings".

The students were able to learn about the remains of a pa site and storage pits which were formally on their school grounds, after the investigation had finished.

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges said he met up with Mr Simeon and Pillans Point School Board of Trustees chairman Michael Attwood 18 months ago.

He thanked them for, "bringing to my attention the huge demographic change going on in Tauranga that I wasn't really aware of, even though I don't live that far from the school," he said.

"They outlined to me how a significant number of couples with school aged children were moving in and what it is doing to their roll. I could see pretty quickly the government had to act."

He said it was great to see Pillans Point School would get the new classrooms "just in the nick of time".

Mount Maunganui principal Lisa Morresey said her school had ten new classrooms built.

"We've moved in, we still need to have the official opening, and we are just talking to the Ministry about building two more for roll growth".

She said the children "love" being in the new classrooms.

Arataki Primary School principal Shelley Blakey said her school had extra space to grow in to.

"We're really lucky, very fortunate as we're growing quite quickly," she said.

She said the school was up 40 children.

"Thank goodness we had that space."

Greerton Village School teacher Walter Annear said the school had just begun the build of three extra classrooms.

"The area has just been taped off, that's about it.

"It's in response to the growing population... We're certainly noticing an influx of new students from inside the area," Mr Annear said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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