Hopes are high for a new college at Ōmokoroa but the Ministry of Education is staying tight-lipped while the proposal is before the workforce select committee.
The issue has gathered momentum following a petition by Jo Linthwaite which started select committee and Ministry of Education discussions.
The Whakamaramara mum of four said the Ōmokoroa and surrounding area desperately needed its own secondary school due to overcrowded high schools in Tauranga and Katikati, combined with traffic congestion and bus travel times.
Linthwaite was optimistic after listening to ministry representatives. However, she was concerned the new school zone may only cover the Ōmokoroa peninsula and be from Year 1 to Year 13.
Ōmokoroa Point School Board of Trustees chairman Greig Neilson told the select committee Ōmokoroa should be the first cab off the rank.
''It will be a large school in a very short time. Our peninsula at the moment is forecast to grow from 3500 to 12,000 people. If we started building today, in five years a new school would get to a roll of 1300, which is a very large school... By my numbers it would be the 56th largest school in New Zealand.''
Ministry for Education sector enablement and support deputy secretary Katrina Casey said the ministry was aware the Ōmokoroa area was expected to experience population growth in the future.
Casey said the ministry developed the National Education Growth Plan to 2030 which identified growth and patterns.
''We are planning for growth and are currently working with the council to identify possible locations should a new secondary school be required. This process will depend on the speed of population growth, demographic makeup and funding availability.''
''In preparing for a new school, the acquisition and designation of new land can take an average of two years, while the design, procurement and construction phase can take up to four years.''
Western Bay of Plenty mayor Garry Webber said Ōmokoroa needed more educational facilities and there was a desperate need for a high school.
''We are hopeful they will put the next facility on the Ōmokoroa peninsula to cater for that large area from Te Puna to Pahoia and Apata. We talk to the Ministry of Education at least once every three or four months.''
Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller had supported the petition from the get-go and was calling for action.
''I made sure I was on the committee every time Jo presented and every time it has been discussed. The select committee is getting very close to a final decision and what I can say is Jo and her team have done a fantastic job...and there has been enormous pressure put on the ministry to front.''
An Education and Workforce Committee spokeswoman said the outcome of the meetings so far were confidential.