A string of bad luck has had a happy ending for Te Puke High School - which is now home to a new modern learning environment.

The new buildings will be officially opened today by Bay of Plenty MP Tony Ryall.

Leaky buildings, arson and ageing structures have affected the school in the past decade and extensive reconstruction work has been carried out over the past 18 months.

Principal Alan Liddle began negotiations with the Ministry of Education for the work from 2007 before being given approval five years later.


He said the new learning environments had given the school a whole new vibe.

The main school block was built in a "V' shape, with three learning pods on either side, the special needs unit at the tip of the "V" and a large courtyard with seating and grass areas in the centre. Inside each of the pods, up to three classes operated at the same time. In one pod visited by the Bay of Plenty Times, chemistry, junior science and maths classes of different age groups were running. The classes were quiet and orderly, possibly because no one wanted to act out in front of so many people, Mr Liddle said.

In between each of the pods were the science labs, which were booked out periodically for practical work, and work spaces for teachers.

"Instead of having teachers in different departments, we're breaking down the artificial barriers between subjects. If the kids can break down the barriers between subjects, they learn better," Mr Liddle said.

The special needs unit was an integral part of the design, as mainstream and special needs students benefited from spending time together. The school wharenui (meeting house) was also rebuilt. It was placed in the centre of the school and doubles as a classroom.