More than $16 million has been allocated to rebuild part of a Northland high school and provide extra classrooms for three other schools.

Ministry of Education head of education infrastructure Kim Shannon said more than $10 million has been allocated for redevelopment at Kamo High School and work is expected to start in the second half of next year.

"Kamo High School is undergoing a major redevelopment project, which involves the demolition of two existing blocks and the building of 22 new teaching spaces, a new special needs facility, as well as associated landscaping and infrastructure."

Principal Jo Hutt is thrilled with the plans.

Advertisement

"It means we have certainty over the future of the school and what we can provide with modern learning environments."

Kamo High School principal Jo Hutt infront of the one of the blocks which will be demolished as part of redevelopment at the school. Photo/John Stone
Kamo High School principal Jo Hutt infront of the one of the blocks which will be demolished as part of redevelopment at the school. Photo/John Stone

She said the two-storeyed "Nelson" blocks which will be demolished were built in the 1960s.

The building materials were "past their use-by date", Hutt said, and the building designs didn't lend themselves to modern learning environments - spaces which could be changed to suit needs.

She said a falling roll had caused in a freeze in funding for five years, but funding this project was a sign to the community the school was growing, the role was stabilising and the ministry had faith in the direction it was moving.

Hutt planned to have the new buildings constructed in a way that creates a central area.

"It gives us a chance to a have a central courtyard, which gives us a place for our 'Kamo-ness', for our culture."

For two Whangarei schools, getting additional classrooms provides the chance to get their libraries back.

Hikurangi School and Morningside School are two of the three Northland schools who will receive extra classrooms as part of a package announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

Advertisement

That $82.5m package included $6m for 10 extra classrooms in Northland.

Morningside School will get four classrooms and principal David Prchal said it means relief.

"We've just been squeezing kids in all over the place for the last four to five years."

In 2013 Morningside School had 220 students and Prchal said this year it has 370.

Morningside School principal David Prchal in one of the school's open learning environment with students from Team Kererū. Photo/John Stone
Morningside School principal David Prchal in one of the school's open learning environment with students from Team Kererū. Photo/John Stone

In 2015 two temporary classrooms were delivered. Two more were relocated to the school at the end of 2016 and it started using them in May last year.

Two of the relocated classrooms will go once the new classrooms are built, but two will stay, Prchal said.

"We've been using our school library as a classroom for the last two years."

It's a familiar problem for Hikurangi School, which will get three new classrooms. Principal Bruce Crawford said the school was very excited about the announcement.

"Because for the last two years we've had no resource room and no library because I've had to put kids in there because of the roll growth."

He said the school had a roll of around 180 a couple of years ago, before a "burst" inflated it to the 236 it is today.

Hikurangi School Bruce Crawford has had to store resources in shipping containers to make room for more students. Photo/John Stone
Hikurangi School Bruce Crawford has had to store resources in shipping containers to make room for more students. Photo/John Stone

Late last year a temporary building was put on the school site to become the library and, after some additional work, opened only this term.

Before that the books were stored in one of three shipping containers on site. The other two containers still house the teaching resources usually stored in the resource room.

Crawford is meeting with officials this week to discuss what the buildings and their contents might look like.

Kaitaia's Te Kura Kaupapa Māori O Pukemiro will get the final three classrooms allocated to Northland.

Principal Mereana Pawa said it was huge for the school community.

She said although exactly who would get to use the new classrooms had yet to be decided, it would provide more space for the students.

Pawa said the school, which caters for years zero to 13, has a roll of nearly 150 and is growing.


This funding is the latest in a string of announcements for Northland Schools. Others include:
-$50 million for an upgrade of Whangārei Boys High School
-$5 million for redevelopment of Ōturu School
-$19 million for a new site and buildings for TKKM o Te Tonga o Hokianga and 16 new classrooms at Whangārei Girls High School, Parua Bay School and Bay of Islands International Academy
-$6.9 million for redevelopment of TKKM o Taumarere
-$14 million for redevelopment of Northland College
-$6 million to increase capacity at Hora Hora School
-$1.7 million for a new classroom block at Kamo Intermediate