Northland College's $14 million redevelopment has reached its first milestone, with the first new building open for use.
Students and staff are getting their first taste of an innovative learning environment at the Kaikohe school, with the first building in the redevelopment ready to use.
While the college's trades centre - which has cost about $350,000 - will ultimately be used for the school's trades academies, including agriculture, forestry and beekeeping, it is initially being used as a flexible learning space for a range of subjects.
Ministry Head of Education Infrastructure Jerome Sheppard said the school's idea of trying out the new space is very practical, and the Ministry is supporting them in use of the new building.
"The students will be able to see what it's like to work in a flexible space which supports a variety of teaching approaches," Mr Sheppard said.
"Innovative learning environments are proving to be enormously popular around the country, because they support student-centred learning, and kids are able to find a space and a way of working that is effective for them.
By opening this building up for all students to use immediately, the school community will quickly get an understanding of how the rest of the school is going to look when it's finished."
When the other buildings are complete, the trades centre, named Te Kuaha Ahuwhenua - The Doorway to the Land, will then be dedicated to the trades academies.
Principal Jim Luders said it is not very often that a school gets a chance to experience what it will be like to work with flexible learning spaces.
"This is our opportunity to trial it and take on board any learnings that we can, then apply them to our new teaching environment," Mr Luders said.
"I'm excited to see the progress that has been made on the redevelopment and we're all looking forward to seeing the build completed in the New Year."
The Northland College redevelopment will accommodate 330 students and allow for a future roll of up to 450.
Construction is on track and expected to be completed in mid-2017.