Paraparaumu College's administration block is getting a major upgrade.

Work starts on the $2.2 million project on February 12, with construction expected to be completed by August 31.

The project, funded by Ministry of Education as well as some board generated funds, will see a radical refurbishment of the current block.

"It's going to look and feel completely different," enthused principal Gregor Fountain.

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Architectural company Re-Design has created the design for the new block which has the working name of Te Manawa [meaning 'the heart'] and will be built by Peryer Construction.

While the work is carried out the administration has temporarily moved into the senior students centre [common room] nearby.

Mr Fountain said Te Manawa's construction came at the right time as the administration block had been suffering from water tightness issues.

"The building was extended in the 1990s and like many buildings of this era has had water tightness issues."

Te Manawa, which will have an eastern entrance, instead of street facing, is also aligned with the college's vision of developing 'side-on relationships' between students and staff.

"We live in an era where students increasingly access information for themselves and are less reliant on their teachers for the information.

"Teachers support student learning and in many cases learn alongside them.

"We want all our property development to reflect and support this change and for there to be less physical distance between staff and students.

"I guess it's a less hierarchical approach.

"For example the principal's office is moving from down the end of a corridor to an area where it is closer and more accessible for students and the senior staff members aren't going to be in a separate corridor but will be spread out around the block."

Te Manawa will also comprise a conference room, a careers centre, an open area for deans, and specific areas for students including arts and sports offices.

After the administration block has been completed, the senior students centre will be redeveloped into a cultural centre, which will have a shared community space that will have some functions of a school marae as well as a brand new Te Reo Maori classroom.

An artist's impression of Paraparaumu College's new cultural centre. Photo: Re-Design Architects
An artist's impression of Paraparaumu College's new cultural centre. Photo: Re-Design Architects

The cultural centre construction, also being designed by Re-Design, will cost about $1 million, with the money coming from the ministry and college board funds.