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Waicol’s $10m upgrade

By Jake Beleski

[email protected]

Wairarapa College is set for a multimillion-dollar makeover, but there will be emphasis on keeping the school’s heritage and culture alive.

Education minister Nikki Kaye announced on Wednesday that about $10m would be invested in property at the school.

The schedule is set to include classroom upgrades as well as a rebuild of the gym’s changing rooms and teaching areas, and replacement of the school’s boiler.

Some buildings may also be demolished if they are no longer deemed fit for purpose.

Principal Shelley Power said yesterday it was part of a major redevelopment project, and the first task would be the upgrading of facilities in the school gym.

“We’re pretty excited about our gym . . . one end will be demolished and rebuilt with purpose-built facilities.

“We want to keep the best of what we are but also engage students in the best modern ways.”

Trips had been made to Christchurch, Wellington and Bay of Plenty to see how schools were trying to be more student-centred, she said.

A master plan was produced in 2014, and now they would work through making the necessary adjustments to that plan before construction started at the school in 2019.

“We’ve conducted research around teaching and learning, as well as modern learning environments, but it’s also important we maintain our heritage and tradition,” she said.

The school is free to choose what they put the money towards, but it would be centred around “the school and priorities it sets in relation to its vision”.

Confirmation of the investment was a “huge boost”, she said.

“We feel like we’re moving forward as a school, and it’s great to have the support of the ministry.”

Certain buildings may be demolished in the rebuilding process, but the school was yet to make those decisions, she said.

Mayor Lyn Patterson said the announcement was a great boost for education in the region.

“Education is one of the great strengths of Masterton, and this investment in their infrastructure is wonderful news for our community.”

Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott said the investment would go a long way towards fixing some of the issues with older buildings at the school.

“The redevelopment will modernise the school’s facilities while also maintaining the culture and heritage of the site.”

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