Tauranga Boys' College will soon boast the city's largest school roll, according to the Ministry of Education's provisional roll data for 2021.
The figures, released to the Bay of Plenty Times last month, show the city's schools continue to grow and total student numbers are expected to reach 33,821.
About 659 of those will be new this year.
The provisional school roll numbers are estimates and may change.
Tauranga Boys' College is estimated to take on the biggest roll, about 2000 students this year, overtaking previous largest, Otumoetai College, by about 180, according to the provisional figures.
Tauranga Boy's College principal Robert Mangan said the school's estimates were tracking above that; about 2050 students were expected on the first day of school.
He said the school had "significant" in-zone roll growth and was expecting a year 9 contingent of about 470 this year, close to its 2019 intake of 480.
He had also noted a large number of senior students appreciating the "value of education" and choosing to stay on compared to previous years, adding to the large roll.
Asked how the school would accommodate the influx, he said it would be "very tight".
The lack of space and delay in school infrastructure was a "significant issue" for many Tauranga schools "across the board" and a 12-room classroom block granted to the school back in 2017 would only be completed this year, he said.
He said it would not be until 2023 that the school could have more learning spaces built and he expected the roll to have increased by another 100 students by then.
However, he said it was a "good problem to have" and the growth reflected on the school's "strong reputation".
Otumoetai College, Te Puke College and Katikati College are all estimated to have about a 100-student drop in their provisional roll numbers.
However, Otumoetai College principal Russell Gordon said their provisional roll numbers were "well out" and they were expecting a roll almost as large as Tauranga Boys' College.
The school was expecting the "biggest year 9 cohort we've ever had" of 470 students, attributed to the city's ever-increasing population and demand in Otumoetai, he said.
He said the school had boosted staff numbers and was working with the Government to get additional learning spaces promised in 2019 built.
He expected the roll to keep growing given the population of the "desirable" Bay of Plenty and the school was futureproofing - where possible - for it, he said.
The Ministry of Education's deputy secretary of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said schools provided the ministry with their likely roll numbers for the following year in July.
The ministry then used this prediction and factored in historical roll trends in setting the schools' provisional rolls.
Unsurprisingly, many of the schools based in fast-expanding Pāpāmoa were increasing each year.
Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Kura Kokiri was estimating a close to 100-student boost.
Pāpāmoa College Board of Trustees chairman Jethro Le Roy said the school was "struggling to cope" with its rapidly growing roll.
He said there were delays in the new buildings promised by the Ministry of Education and it was "frustrating" for staff who had to work in small spaces not adequate for the roll size.
They were bracing for student numbers to continue to rise as Pāpāmoa grew and feeder school rolls across the suburb spiked, he said.
"Something needs to happen sooner rather than later."
The Government announced new classrooms and teaching spaces for several local schools in 2019, citing growth.
The Ministry of Education's acting head of education infrastructure service Rob Campbell said in 2019/2020 $45 million was spent on school property, including new classrooms, schools, repairs, renovations and rebuilds in the Bay of Plenty.
He said the National Education Growth Plan outlined additional student spaces to meet growing student numbers and a number of plans were underway this year to help schools that were struggling.
The design phase of stages 3 and 4 of the expansion at Pāpāmoa College would continue, and construction was set to start near the end of 2021.
A contractor was set to be appointed for the Tauranga Boys' College new teaching space block, and construction would start in mid-2021.
"We are working with the college to manage its roll and property needs. We expect that the new schools and capacity we are building in Tauranga, and in Otumoetai in particular, will mean that demand will decrease."
The time between identifying a need and the completion of new classrooms can vary from six months to four years.
Factors that can influence these timeframes included site constraints, local infrastructure capacity and phasing work to minimise disruption to the classroom.
GROWING SCHOOLS: 2021 PROJECTS
Extra 520 student places in Otumoetai by 2021.
• Brookfield School to be relocated to a nearby site and expanded to provide 520 student places. Three additional teaching spaces to be added to current site before the end of Term 1.
• Six additional teaching spaces for Te Wharekura o Mauao. New classrooms due in 2024. Two short-term teaching spaces to be added in the meantime.
Extra 330 student places in Tauranga by 2021.
• Two teaching spaces for Pyes Pa Road School, due in Term 1.
• One teaching space for Kaimai Primary School, due in Term 2.
• Stage 2 expansion of Taumata School. Due in 2022. Short-term teaching spaces due before the end of Term 1.