The colour theme may have been blue but it was a red letter day for Whanganui's Carlton School as they celebrated the re-opening of their swimming pool.

As the pool has capacity for just one class at a time, children were enjoying water slides on the school playing fields and blue iced cupcakes.

It all seemed like an impossible dream at this time last year when the prohibitive cost of repairing the pool put it out of reach.

When a 7.8 earthquake devastated Kaikoura in November 2016 it also left cracks in the pool making it unusable.


At the time, principal Gaye O'Connor hoped the school's insurance policy would cover the cost of repair but was told that the policy carried an excess of $41,000.

Ms O'Connor was also informed that the Ministry of Education's insurance policy did not cover damage to swimming pools, their surrounds or associated facilities.

"I didn't want to give up but it seemed impossible that our Board of Trustees could ever raise enough to repair the pool," she says.

The school was only receiving around $400 for pool maintenance in their operations grant each year.

"Fortunately, the Ministry decided that the circumstances were exceptional and they agreed to meet the cost of repairing the pool."

Local business Pool Clinic Wanganui were delighted to get the repair contract and the pool now has a durable fibreglass coating.

"The Men's Shed have fixed all the seating as well," said Ms O'Connor.

"We thought they might need replacing but they have done a great job of repairing and refurbishing the original wooden ones."

The Carlton School pool is Whanganui's only covered and heated pool aside from the Splash Centre and Ms O'Connor said it is wonderful to be able to share the asset with the community.

"Rutherford, Arahunga and the Skids after school programme have already booked some sessions and we welcome inquiries from other schools and there may be adults who would like to swim in the evenings.

"The Splash Centre does get over-booked in the winter so it's great that we can offer another option."

Ms O'Connor having the pool in use all year means that each child will get an additional 25 hours of swimming practice each year.