A seven-hectare site has been bought for a new primary school at Papamoa as part of a $30 million investment package announced by Education Minister Nikki Kaye.
Ms Kaye was in Tauranga yesterday visiting two schools where skyrocketing residential growth was placing enormous pressure on rolls.
She confirmed that a new school would open in three years on Te Okuroa Drive, about 500m past Parton Rd. The Ministry paid $5.7 million for the land through a Crown to Crown transfer from its former owner, the New Zealand Transport Agency.
The school will accommodate a roll of 400 pupils, with the site big enough to also hold an early childhood centre if required. A notice has been lodged requiring the Tauranga City Council to designate the site for educational purposes.
A special assembly at Pillans Point School saw Ms Kaye tell staff and children that they would be getting nine new classrooms costing about $5m - five additional classrooms and four replacement classrooms.
Later in the morning, she was given another special kapa haka welcome at Papamoa's Golden Sands School where she announced $4m would be spent on classrooms to accommodate an extra 150 pupils.
"This is one of the fastest growing areas in New Zealand, and the Government is committed to building new schools and classrooms."
The $30m allocated in the Budget followed other announcements earlier this year for $1.2m for upgrade work at Omokoroa Point School and the final step being reached in the process to build a new $18m primary school at Pyes Pa for 650 students.
Pillans Point principal Matt Simeon said the school had grown from a roll of 330 in 2007 to where it was poised to reach 600 by the end of this year. The growth was largely from the area's elderly residents shifting into retirement villages and their homes being snapped up by young families.
The school's $5m expansion included about $2m of infrastructure costs, together with back-up facilities in the planned new building.
Mr Simeon said the minister's drive and passion for education was refreshing. Ms Kaye said her welcome told a lot about the culture of the school and its leadership. Her message to the children was to work hard and treat people well.
Board of Trustees chairman Michael Attwood said the announcement was a significant boost for the school.
"If someone had told us we would be in this position two years ago there would have been a few wry smiles."
Golden Sands School acting principal Matt Kennedy said the minister's announcement was the fourth phase in the school's building programme since it opened seven years ago with 83 children. The school now had 520 students in 25 classes.
''It is a real positive for our school to accommodate new families coming into the area.''
The new classroom block was expected to open in 2019.
Tauranga MP Simon Bridges said the Government was committed to providing world-class education, with more to come.
Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller said yesterday's announcements were on the back of 2016's investments which saw new classrooms for Oropi School, Welcome Bay School Maungatapu School, Katikati Primary and Matua Primary.
Latest schools' building boost for Tauranga
- One new school and 15 new classrooms
- Construction cost $30 million
- Openings 2019-20