Minister of Education Chris Hipkins confirmed that $33.5 million of government funds would be awarded to finance the redevelopment of Mount Aspiring College (MAC)l, recently named the largest in Otago.
In one of his last acts as principal, Wayne Bosley said he was “absolutely delighted” with the result of a lengthy campaign to secure funding, which had been a “very personal project.”
“As a college we are thrilled. We have been working closely with the Ministry of Education (ME) to come up with a sustainable long-term plan to meet the needs of our rapidly growing community and it is wonderful to receive such positive validation,” he said.
“MAC is the only high school in Wānaka and the Upper Clutha basin and has seen exponential growth over the last five years. We are an intrinsic part of the community and we now have the means to develop a campus that truly serves our staff and students,” he added.
Hipkins said Wānaka was one of the fastest growing towns in New Zealand. Student numbers at the high school have almost doubled in the last eight years, going from 664 in 2012 to 1,139 in 2020.
The new investment is on top of $13 million pledged by the ME in December 2017, when the redevelopment plan was initially due to start in 2018. The new total of $46.5 million will allow “stages one and two of the MAC Masterplan to be completed in tandem,” according to board of trustees (BOT) chair Ed Nepia. The Masterplan roll number has also been revised from 1,600 in 2017 to 1,800, in consideration of MAC’s sustained growth in the interim.
The project is set to take three years to complete and will include a whare, two multi-story classroom blocks and an administration building, all built on the existing site.
Nepia believed the value of the new build extended far beyond the physical campus. “This is a very significant milestone not only for us as a school, but for us as a community,” he said. “In a post-COVID climate the contract for this development will add much needed jobs and stability to our community, with significant flow-on effects throughout the region.”
The Ministry of Education will go to tender for a construction company in mid-July, with ground being broken towards the end of the year.
Read edition 982 of the Wānaka Sun here.