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Waicol’s $10m build blessed

Huria Robens, Mike Kawana, head girl Molly Donald, Masterton Mayor Lyn Paterson, principal Pam Redpath, head boy Tama Bartlett, Kirsten Browne, and Ben Holmes at Thursday’s blessing at Waicol. PHOTOS/ALEYNA MARTINEZ

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Community leaders, teachers, and prefects all gathered before dawn on Thursday morning to bless two new building sites at Wairarapa College.

It is a $10m project, funded by the Ministry of Education, that has three stages and will be finished by Christmas or early next year, project manager Ben Holmes said.

His company Holmes Construction competed against businesses outside Wairarapa wanting the contract, “but being local, we put our best foot forward and were proud to get it”, he said.

The two new buildings will bring the school into the modern day, Waicol principal Pam Redpath said.

Kaumatua Mike Kawana of Rangitane leads a karakia over the land where Wairarapa College is building two new buildings.

One building will be an Ongoing Resource Scheme facility designed for students with learning disabilities and the other will be a central hub with a cafeteria that is designed to teach food and hospitality, Redpath said.

A bus bay with a drive-in, drive out design would also be included in the renovation to enhance student safety on the roads.

Redpath told ceremony attendees over breakfast, plans for this upgrade had been ongoing since 2011 and said Thursday’s blessing of the land and the foundations of those buildings made the morning “quite a considerable moment” for her.

“Maori culture is something to really respect and understand so I’d like to really acknowledge Mike”, she said referring to the college’s kaumatua Mike Kawana.

She told the Times-Age some of the buildings at Waicol were “run down” and had not been updated since the college opened.

Looking toward their 100th Jubilee coming up in 2023, she said a refreshed environment for students and staff could only be a positive move for the college community.

“When it’s done, it’ll bring the school right into the modern day,” Redpath said.


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