Mangapapa School’s rebuild is finally under way after years of planning with aged and leaky classrooms being replaced by “flexible” teaching spaces fit for today’s students.
Two-thirds of Gisborne’s largest primary school is being demolished to make way for state-of-the-art buildings at an estimated cost of $10 million to $12 million.
“Our MKids, staff and community will have access to the best facilities available to any student across New Zealand,” Mangapapa School principal Paul Sadler said,
Mangapapa School has a roll of 470 students and employs 45 staff, including teachers and support staff.
Traditional classrooms will be replaced by “flexible learning spaces” with large sliding doors between them so teachers have the flexibility to teach collaboratively or independently.
Classrooms for senior students will feature breakout spaces with kitchen and science facilities.
The layout will be designed in such a way to create a large central courtyard and playground area in the middle of the school.
There is also a significant focus on providing outdoor learning environments that complement those inside.
The rebuild is a three-stage development project expected to take around three years.
The first stage is expected to be finished 12 months from now.
Thirteen classrooms will be demolished, along with the main administration block and the support room.
“Much like other schools, as roll growth has occurred over the years, new blocks have been added in any space available,” Mr Sadler said.
“This has led to Mangapapa School being a maze of sorts.
“The layout of the new school will have a more cohesive feel and flow to it”.
A leaky building assessment in 2013 set the wheels in motion for the rebuild.
Since 2013, the school has worked with five Ministry of Education property managers and two architects.
“Our current Ministry of Education delivery manager Trent Fairey has been great to work with,” Mr Sadler said,
“If it wasn’t for Trent’s commitment and strategic planning we’d still be waiting to get this project over the line, let alone started.”
Prior to the rebuild, an enabling stage was completed earlier this year. It involved building a carpark entrance on Rua Street exiting on to Ormond Road to ease traffic congestion and promote stronger road safety around the school site for the community.
In addition to this was a new crossing, improved parking areas, road signage, line marking and footpaths on Rua Street at a cost of $226,000.
The roading project was funded by Gisborne District Council and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
“While it’s been a big wait, it’s also been invaluable in really knowing what we want in terms of the design of teaching and learning spaces, and most importantly, how these property developments will enhance teaching and learning at Mangapapa School now and in the future,” Mr Sadler said.
“While there will be obvious disruptions, strong plans and procedures have been put in place to minimise the impact of this project on teaching and learning.
“This is another significant chapter for Mangapapa School, a school that’s steeped in history.”