Private Remuera King's School will next month mark the completion of a new half-hectare $30 million four-level block, which boys moved into last month and where open-plan classrooms have been firmly rejected.
King's headmaster Tony Sissons said the 5000sq m building had 19 classrooms, music studios and flexible discussion areas and replaced the Hanna Block where earthquake engineers discovered serious structural problems.
"It's not open-plan because education today requires a homeroom environment where a teacher can build a relationship with a smaller group as opposed to the current push which is open-plan which somehow has been linked to that being a modern learning environment with 50 to 100 students to one classroom," he said.
The Herald on Sunday reported about a clash between the Education Ministry and Macleans College over a long wait for a new multi-million dollar science and technology block, allegedly due to a standoff with bureaucrats about the building's design.
The new King's School block was designed by architects Warren and Mahoney which showed plans for what it called a campus integration.
The block is called the Centennial Building because, in 2022, the school will mark 100 years of operation, a statement said. Aspec Construction were the builders.
Students have been on the block at the school at 258 Remuera Rd since January 30.
Sissons said: "This is the biggest building project we've done in almost 100 years.
"There are 19 classrooms, none of which are open plan," he said. "But they have the ability to open into flexible spaces via double-glazed sliding doors."
Three major music studios, other smaller areas for music and many breakout rooms had also been built, he said.
"The building links into the JR Fletcher Performing Arts Centre which has a recording studio and we've linked it to drama as well. There's a real push for the theatre work and the spoken word."
The $30m had come from "the wider community and we've had some surplus we've put aside in the last 10 years, as well as bank lending. We went for a third each way and we got that. We had hundreds of people who made donations which is just as valuable as the small boy who goes out to work in the holidays to donate money. It all makes a difference."
Next month, the block will be opened by board chairman Simon Moore and the Anglican Bishop Ross Bay, the statement said. That event is planned for March 13.
King's has a roll of 700 boys, from the age of four to 13 years. It has an early learning centre and goes up to Year 8 and says it has a teacher-student ratio of one to 11.
Around 500 people would be in the building at any one time, Sissons said.
Sissons said completion of the new block was a personal highlight for him.
"There were many planning discussions with Warren and Mahoney and multiple requirements to consider but core to the brief was the importance of human relationships within a school environment, particularly those between student and teacher," Sissons said.
"What we have in this building is a flexible environment that encourages collaboration with others, while at the same time providing more intimate spaces for individual and reflective learning.
"This is achieved without losing the strong personal relationship between each individual student and his teacher. It's the best of both worlds," Sissons said.