Work begins on $75m Western Springs College–Nga Puna o Waiorea rebuild

Western Springs College–Ngā Puna o Waiōrea today celebrated the start of the school’s $75 million rebuild. Over the next two years, 80% of the school will be demolished and a state-of-the-art facility built in its place. The new school will be completed at the end of 2018, with students moving in at the beginning of the 2019 year.

The ‘Whakapūmau Whenua’ (blessing of the earth) marking the start of the project took place this morning (Friday 16 September), attended by Education Minister Hekia Parata, Mana Whenua–Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei and 150 invited guests. The powhiri was followed by a Karakia and a historical korero by Ivan Davis (Acting School Principal) and Chris Selwyn (Tumuaki).

WSC Board Chair John Loof says the first stage of the project – setting up a temporary school to house students during the rebuild – will start during the upcoming school holidays, and construction of the new school will begin in the third quarter of 2017. He says the size and scope of the project provides an unprecedented opportunity for students, staff and the community.

“This is a new chapter in the history of Western Springs College–Ngā Puna o Waiōrea; the building of a fantastic learning environment for our children and our teachers. The new buildings, which will be completed and ready for the start of 2019, will provide facilities we have only been able to dream about until now. I’m a big believer in the importance of the local school as the school of choice for local parents and there is no doubt the redevelopment project will make our school an outstanding asset for the local community.

“The new state-of-the-art facilities will enhance already outstanding learning outcomes in both mainstream and Waiorea,” John says. Metro magazine’s recent “Best schools in Auckland” feature highlighted academic achievement at the school, including from its strong, successful kura kaupapa unit. "The mainstream school that recorded the best UE [university entrance] results for girls in Year 13 was not a Catholic school or any kind of single-sex school, but Western Springs College. The mainstream school that achieved the same feat for boys was also Western Springs. They're doing something right out there by the zoo."

Parents and students will start seeing relocatable classrooms coming onto the site over the next two weeks, John says, but only two buildings – one tech block and the canteen – will need to be demolished in the early stage of the project. The present library will turn into the food tech room and the canteen. .

“It’s been a long journey but we are really excited about the start of work on site. We are right on schedule,” John says.

There is more information about the temporary school and the early stages of the school rebuild below. But if you have any questions, please feel free to contact Ivan Davis - davisi@wsc.school.nz, 815 6730

Background and the temporary school
The Ministry of Education began discussions on a new school in 2010, with Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye announcing the $75 million redevelopment in November last year. The first stage, setting up a standalone “temporary school” made up of existing buildings and relocatable classrooms, will ensure a safe and productive learning environment is maintained at all times during the project, Loof says. The design of the temporary school will ensure that as much as possible it retains a central hub and social space while the rebuild is going on. The temporary school will be available for use at the start of the 2017 school year. Four of the relocatable classrooms will be placed at the front of the school, for use by the Rumaki – Ngā Puna o Waiōrea.
For more details about the WSC Temporary School, see the FAQs below.

Progress with the rebuild
Our development has received the green light from the Ministry of Education’s Design Review Panel to proceed to preliminary design stage. Work will start on the advanced design blueprint for the school mid-2017. E-Block will be the first building to be demolished. Building work will start by mid-2017, with as much excavation and noisy construction as possible being done outside school hours.Construction will be finished at the end of 2018, with students moving into the new school for the 2019 year.

Health, safety and sustainability during the rebuild
The Ministry of Education has employed an independent health and safety advisor to oversee health, safety and environmental aspects of the rebuild, including close monitoring of any emissions from the landfill site. The rebuild programme will involve removal of landfill material down to the underlying basalt, to provide a strong foundation for the new buildings, and minimise contaminants. Some buildings have been identified as having asbestos, and they will be “tented” with plastic so dust and debris can’t escape. Asbestos will be packaged and sealed, before being removed from the site. While the funding available doesn’t allow full Green Star Education certification, the board and school community are committed to following the highest environmental-sustainability principles it can afford. The school’s sustainability panel will be involved at all stages of the process, including discussions with the architect and design team. The aim is to create a school with a light environmental footprint, both in terms of how it is built and how it is used.

New school design
The new school will consist of a large three-storey teaching block, a new gym and sports facilities, and new library and teaching support facilities. The hall and admin block will be upgraded. There will be a two-storey block for Nga Puna o Waiorea – the school’s Te Reo Maori immersion unit, with twelve new teaching spaces and a Whare Tapere. An additional $4 million will be spent on remediating weathertightness issues at TAPAC (The Auckland Performing Arts Centre), which is on the school grounds. The design will allow the school to cater for strong expected roll growth. The school has an existing roll of 1400 students, but rapid growth in the inner city suburbs means the new school will open with the ability to take 1700 students. There is also potential in the plans to expand to a roll of 2500.

FAQ about the Temporary School (from the Ministry of Education) 

What is a temporary school?
A temporary school is made up of transportable classrooms that are brought on to a school site, when they are required during building or construction work. They are used for Ministry of Education projects to accommodate students and staff and ensure they have a functional work space for learning, while during construction. The number of temporary classrooms required varies from project to project, depending on the level of work and what the project requires.

How will it work for Western Springs College redevelopment?
For the Western Springs College redevelopment, nine additional transportable classrooms will be brought on site for the duration of the redevelopment project. These, along with the relocation of some of the current teaching spaces, will be used for learning during construction.

The temporary school will only be used for some classes with the main school also being used for normal lessons. Students and staff will be re-located to the temporary buildings before demolition work is carried out.

Where will the temporary school be located?
The temporary school will be located on the western sports field which are used infrequently, allowing the northern sports field to be used throughout the build. The temporary school will be used for general classroom and food technology classes.

Why the need for a temporary school?
A temporary school is important to ensure that staff and students have a space that they can use with minimal disruption to learning, when a project is underway.

When will the temporary school be on site?
The nine temporary classrooms earmarked for Western Springs College will be brought on to school grounds during the September school holidays, ready for classes in Term 1, 2017.

How long will the buildings be on site?
The temporary classrooms will be used until the redevelopment and the new buildings have been completed at the end of 2018. It’s expected that these will be moved off site after the school community is settled into its new accommodation.