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Work starts on Mangapapa School development project

A multimillion-dollar makeover has started at Mangapapa School with the first stage being a new carpark and traffic infrastructure plan.

Two-thirds of Gisborne's largest primary school will be demolished to make way for state-of-the-art buildings costing an estimated $15 million.

Earthworks began on the site two weeks ago and today a 40-metre tall fir tree is being removed due to health and safety concerns around the tree's health and the stage one developments.

When stage one is completed, vehicles will enter the carpark on Rua Street and exit on to Ormond Road, which will ease traffic congestion and promote stronger road safety around the school site for the community. The carpark is scheduled to be finished by the end of August.

Stages two and three of the development project will see the demolition of about two-thirds of the school, including 13 classrooms and the main administration block.

These will be replaced by flexible teaching and learning spaces as well as a community-orientated administration area.

The new design layout is focused on creating a central courtyard and playground area.

The initial impetus for the project was a leaky building assessment in 2013. Planning starting in 2014.

“Since then it's been a rollercoaster ride, with lots of stops and starts due to various external reasons mainly to do with funding,” said principal Paul Sadler. “While it's been a big wait, it's also been invaluable in really knowing what we want and most importantly how these property developments will enhance teaching and learning at Mangapapa School now and in the future.”

It has taken more than seven years to complete a master plan for the rebuild of the school which has a roll of 478 students.

Since 2013 they have worked with five Ministry of Education property managers and two architects. Rotorua-based Darryl Church Architects undertook the master planning and design process from 2017.

“When the stage two and three build is completed, Mangapapa School will provide flexible learning spaces that will better drive and support the aspirations of our school vision and curriculum,” said Mr Sadler.

“We feel privileged to have this opportunity. Our Mangapapa kids deserve it.”

Mangapapa School office manager Kym Walters, who has been involved in the development of the project since the very beginning, said it was great to see years of planning come to fruition.

Stage one of the project is being done by McMillan & Lockwood using local subcontractors.

Work on the second and third stages will be put up for tender by the Ministry of Education.

School life will be disrupted when work begins on stage two.

The school hall will be used as a temporary teaching and learning space.

ACTION AT LAST: Mangapapa School office manager Kym Walters and principal Paul Sadler at the site of the school's new carpark, part of a multimillion- dollar, three-stage development project that has been years in the making. Picture by Liam Clayton