Hawke's Bay's two biggest schools will receive a combined total of more than $11 million for weather-tightness and building works as part of a $150 million package announced by the Government last week.
A package totalling $16.5 million for Napier Boys' High School and Napier Girls' High School, along with Heretaunga Intermediate School in Hastings, Havelock North High School and Gisborne area school Rere was announced in Napier on Thursday by Economic Development Minister and Napier MP Stuart Nash.
It comes from Budget 2021 funding committed to accelerating five projects, but also includes a new classroom for Porangahau School in coastal Central Hawke's Bay as part of a short-term roll-growth programme.
The $6 million Napier BHS project will advance weathertightness remediation in 11 teaching blocks said a statement from Nash, who was a pupil at the school from 1981 to 1985, and who describes the projects covered by the announcement as being "shovel-ready" or close to it.
"This is much-needed work that will ensure the school has quality classrooms that are fit for purpose for young people to learn in for years to come," he said.
At the Napier Girls' High School, $5 million will be available to advance redevelopment of a major teaching block.
The announcement was met with applause from teachers in the NBHS during a tour of the school's already extensive rebuild, which has taken several years and which board chair Megan Landon expects to be mainly complete by the end of next year – but not in time for school 150th anniversary celebrations in June.
The tour was guided by deputy principal Bruce Smith. Principal Jarred Williams was also in the entourage, having just started at the school on Monday.
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Williams said the improvement to the learning environment was exciting for the school, which has a roll of more than 1000 pupils.
Landon said the weathertightness issue had been recognised when the rebuild started and was to have been included in the project, but there had been changes and delays for a variety of reasons, including the impacts of the global pandemic.
"It has taken a while to pull together," she said.
Nash said the funding would top up the existing budgets of school property projects already under way, so they could enter construction earlier, and address problems of escalating cost and other pressures.
He said the package had an economic stimulus focus that supports the Government's target of accelerating our economy post Covid-19.
It would have a positive effect for the construction sector, supporting jobs in the region, including youth and young men and women who had been pupils at the schools, he said.