Four-year-old Olive Baunton got to shake hands with her future principal at a blessing of the site where she would soon go to school.
About 20 people, including the principal, deputy principals, Board of Trustees and future pupils of the new Pyes Pa School West attended a blessing of where it will be built on Kennedy Rd this morning.
A kaumatua blessed the four-hectare site before the turning of the first sod and a waiata and karakia to finish.
Four-year-old Olive had brought her breakfast with her to see the first sod turned at her future school.
Holding her marmite on toast, Olive told mum Amanda Baunton that her new school was "cool".
"We are really excited to have her be one of the founding students," Amanda said.
"That is why we came along because we wanted to be part of it all from the very beginning."
The Bauntons recently moved from Auckland to Tauranga and Amanda heard about the new school from other mums at Olive's daycare.
Amanda said she would enrol Olive at the Pyes Pa school as soon as possible.
"We are very excited."
New principal Gen Fuller said it was a privilege to be the founding principal. It will be the former deputy principal of Papamoa Primary School's first principal role.
"We just feel so privileged to be part of this wonderful facility we are creating," Fuller said.
"The support from the community has been phenomenal."
Fuller said Pyes Pa West School was the education facility's interim name.
"We are just going through a process for what our future name will be," she said.
The initial primary school build will cater for 450 children with a capacity for 650 Year 0-8 pupils and will include a technology unit.
Fuller said the school had spent the last three-to-four months in the design process with the Ministry of Education.
"We are trying to take in a social nature of learning," she said.
"The space we have designed has been around acknowledging our need to be moving and sharing ideas."
Board of Trustees chair Jay Kedian said the design was signed off last week and would move away from the "factory modes" of school builds and instead embrace an "initiative environment".
"We just feel so privileged to be part of creating this wonderful facility which we are building for three, four, six, even eight decades' time," he said.
Pyes Pa West School was planned to be completed on January 1, 2019.
Pyes Pa West School (Interim name)
- Full primary school for Years 0-8
- Four-hectare site on Kennedy Rd
- Initially built for 450 pupils, capacity 650 pupils