Parents, parents-to-be, and curious teachers have had a closer look at Te Ōkūroa Drive School.
The Ministry of Education invited community members to the site in Pāpāmoa on Saturday.
Face painting, a sausage sizzle, games and music kept kids entertained while parents soaked up information boards and updates about the upcoming school opening for Term 1, 2022.
Despite Covid-19, chairwoman Rebecca Keating told the Bay of Plenty Times "everything is on track" with construction slightly ahead of schedule.
The Ministry of Education has begun drafting the school zone, and Keating was "eager to start the consultation process" next year.
The Bay of Plenty was the country's fastest-growing region in the past year, driven by thousands moving to Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty.
That has meant "exploding" rolls at schools in areas such as Pāpāmoa.
"This school is a definite need," Keating said.
Deon Carpenter was one of the dozens of visitors on Saturday.
His children are aged four and six, and he would "definitely consider moving them" if they live in the Te Ōkūroa Drive zone.
"The appeal is the new facilities that are purpose-built."
Teacher and parent Paul Conrad expected to have children attending the school.
"We are building a house just over the fence."
He was pleased by the school's "location, layout, and grounds".
"It's fairly well spread out ... Green space is really important."
Pāpāmoa College teacher Kylie Price was curious to see the project.
She was "really excited" to see there would be "a lot of play-based learning" and that the classrooms were open plan.
"That will filter down to us [at the college] eventually."
Shane Cunliffe, who will be the principal, made the most of the occasion, greeting parents and children arriving on Saturday.
"It's an awesome chance to connect with people face to face," he said.
"It's about whanaungatanga today."
Cunliffe currently teaches at Te Puke Primary School but will start his employment at Te Ōkūroa Drive School next year for the final 12 months of preparations, and is looking forward to helping recruit staff.
The first phase of the school is being built for 650 students, up to Year 6, but around 250 are expected when doors first open.
Te Ōkūroa was the name of the porpoise that guided the Te Arawa waka to the Kaituna River.