It was a busy summer on campus at Mount Aspiring College with seven new portacoms being erected to cope with the largest influx of Year 7s ever. Elsewhere on school grounds, major works are set to get underway to expand the school capacity to accommodate the burgeoning school role. A Master Plan and Concept Design report provides a framework for the immediate redevelopment of the school to support a roll of 1050 students (phase one, comprising of stages one and two of building), and a long-term redevelopment of the school to support a roll of 1600 students (phase two, comprising of stages three to six). The current roll is knocking on 1100 so the first phase of overdue development is already underway with major works commencing in June or July with a budget of $9.2 million.
Principal Wayne Bosley expects the roll to hit 1600 in the next eight to ten years but admits that with the current rate of growth in Wanaka, that could happen much quicker.
“The primary schools are chocka full already,” says Bosley. “I wrote to the Ministry last year and said phase one and two need to be done concurrently as we have already gone past 1050 students. But it’s a funding issue. But that would certainly help us and hopefully we will hear about it soon.”
Mount Aspiring College has morphed and grown organically over recent decades; going from a rural school for Years 1 - 13, to a high school in 1987. The original buildings were second hand rooms that had been relocated from Twizel and catered to around 200 students so there is little doubt the school is in desperate need of an upgrade.
“We wanted buildings that our students and staff deserved rather than what was leftover,” says Bosley.
There are currently 47 classrooms but long-term growth is planning for 80.
To achieve a master plan roll of 1600, two-storey blocks are proposed to the south of the campus establishing a relationship with Plantation Road and avoiding shading of outdoor learning areas. These blocks are configured in a way to strengthen existing outdoor courtyards and create new courtyards.
The neighbouring site is currently occupied by a soon-to-be decommissioned community swimming pool owned by the district council. In line with direction from the Ministry of Education, the master plan has been prepared on the basis that the adjacent site is procured by the MoE and incorporated into the school campus. The Master Plan identifies this land as being best suited to the construction of a new multi-purpose / gym space along with associated car parking for the wider school. All staging has been considered in relationship to enabling construction to be undertaken without impeding the on-going operation of the school.
Major building work for phase one is anticipated to start in June or July however there is other construction in progress right now to finish the new canteen as well as a new toilet block and changing room.