Wairarapa College’s iconic front-facing Sutherland Block will be closed for several years for upgrade works.
Housing the school’s original building, the block has been completely fenced off while modernisation and earthquake-strengthening work occurs.
Work started last week, and the intended final result will be better-heated and more functional classrooms, a new lift, new bathrooms, and upgrades to the administration and staff area.
Asbestos-containing material has been found in the block, and the college has a plan to remove it safely.
The asbestos materials are either in powder form or able to be crumbled, pulverised, or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry – so they have the potential to become airborne.
No asbestos material will be removed from the building during school hours; removal will only occur in secure, pressure-controlled areas inside the building.
An independent party will inspect the site on completion of the work to ensure it is safe and issue a clearance certificate.
Principal Matt White said the work is a major project and is part of the master plan to rebuild the school, a plan that’s been in development for more than a decade.