Reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Government announces $14.5 million redevelopment for school

The Government has announced it will spend more than $14 million rebuilding a Manurewa primary school riddled with toxic mould and asbestos.

Clayton Park School closed four classrooms because of mould last year, and said at the time that others were damp and leaky, with fungi growing in ceilings and walls.

Today, associate education minister Nikki Kaye announced "around $14.5 million" had been approved for the decile-two primary school's redevelopment.

"This announcement is the result of several years of work and completes an important phase in what is one of our most complex school redevelopments," Ms Kaye said.

"The school has experienced issues with aged and leaky buildings and asbestos.

"I am pleased that the redevelopment will see most of the school's existing buildings replaced. This solution will add 19 permanent teaching spaces but retain the recently built hall and administration areas," she said.

In June last year, when the Herald visited the school, principal Paul Wright pulled down a water-stained ceiling tile above a teacher's desk in the new entrant room to show thick black growth.

"Our children get sick. Our staff get sick. We have an ongoing problem with respiratory illness," Mr Wright said.

He said the issues had been going on for at least 10 years, and the Ministry of Education was aware.

Today, Ms Kaye said the funding announcement was important for the local community.

"Clayton Park School has faced considerable challenges due to the poor condition of its buildings."

She said the ministry had already spent $1.4 million on six temporary classrooms at the school.

"These temporary classrooms will remain in place during the redevelopment work, and will be removed upon its completion."

She said construction was due to start "later this year," and the redevelopment will take around two years to complete.

- NZ Herald

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