Last push to fix NZ's leakiest school

By Genevieve Helliwell of the Bay of Plenty Times -
The main block at Tahatai Coast School at Papamoa was heavily water damaged and most of the school has been demolished. Photo / Bay of Plenty Times
The main block at Tahatai Coast School at Papamoa was heavily water damaged and most of the school has been demolished. Photo / Bay of Plenty Times

Work on a library and a multi-million dollar two-storey building will begin next week at the Western Bay school dubbed the leakiest school in the country.

During the past four years, Tahatai Coast School in Papamoa has been almost demolished.

Most buildings were pulled down and replaced with new buildings and a few of the less-leaky classrooms only needed to be renovated. Only the hall and the administration office were saved.

Principal Jenny Griggs looked out on the bare, green grass area where the new classroom building, measuring more than 60 metres long and 20m wide, is set to be built. That block and the library were the final two buildings in the rebuild project.

"It's exciting. The buildings will be absolutely beautiful when they're finished but it's been a long time, about four years but maybe longer than that," she said.

"Getting to where we are today has been a long process, we've been working on this specific project for 14 months so it's really exciting to see it finally about to happen."

Inside the new two-storey classroom block will be 18 classrooms, nine on each level, with awhina spaces nearby to promote open-area learning. There will be separate withdraw rooms for one-on-one or small group learning, an indoor lift, underfloor heating with gas and power facilities.

She said the new library would be built before the old library was demolished, so they only had to do one shift of the books.

"When this is all complete it will go back to the original design of the school, the way it used to be with the library at the centre, at the heart of the school," she said.

The two new buildings, worth about $7 million, are expected to be completed by November.

The Ministry of Education would not disclose the total value of the whole school rebuild project.

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