When Matt Bertram assumed the role of principal at Napier Boys' High in 2016 he expected he would see the completion of a major rebuild well before the end of his time at Hawke's Bay's biggest school.
But five-and-a-half years later he will leave in July, still waiting, hoping the job, doubled in price since its conception, will be finished in time for the school's 150 years celebrations at Queen's Birthday weekend 2022.
"That's our plan," said Board chairwoman Megan Landon. "But there'll always be bits and pieces to do."
Plans for redevelopment, including demolition and replacement of main classrooms facility Armour Block, was first revealed by former long-time principal Ross Brown in 2014, with an expected price tag of about $8.5 million.
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Issues with the funding agencies meant the project went back to the drawing board in 2016, a three-stage project was initiated, demolition started in January 2019, Stage 3 is set to start in October, and by the time it's completed the cost is likely to have risen to more than $13 million.
The Covid-19 crisis had also played a part in more recent delays, with impacts on supply and shipping.
Bertram, who has accepted a job from whence he came, at Scots College, Wellington, as director of boarding, said the school, which has a roll of 1150-1200, had coped through what will have been more than three years of major redevelopment headed by lead contractors Stead Construction, of Hastings.
A landmark event was the opening of six science rooms in February, and a feature of the construction is the absence of corridors, which he says is a factor which was possible in Hawke's Bay because of the climate, but an unlikely design in other parts of New Zealand.
The school is also planning a separate library refurbishment costing over $1 million which it is hoped may also be completed in time for the school's celebration in June 2022.
Bertram revealed his departure plans to the board at the start of the year and will leave the school at the end of Term 2.
Landon said the job has been advertised, strong interest has been shown and it is hoped an appointment will be made by mid-June.