Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced significant funding for Auckland’s Northcote College as part of the first wave of a new nationwide school redevelopment programme to upgrade schools over the next 10 years.
The $48.5 million project brings the total investment in Northcote College to $60 million since 2018. The additional funding will be used to refurbish two of Northcote College’s heritage buildings, and relocate a third to a better location on the site. A new gym will be built, and 20 ageing classrooms rebuilt or upgraded.
Jacinda Ardern said Northcote College is one of four projects announced today, worth $126 million, which will need hundreds of skilled workers. Design work at Northcote will start shortly, and construction is on track to start early next year.
“Families rightly expect their children to be able to learn in warm, dry and comfortable classrooms, and we are working hard to make that happen as a major contributor to New Zealand being the best country in the world to bring up a child,”Jacinda Ardern said.
The other school redevelopments announced today are:
- Extending an existing redevelopment project at Wanaka’s Mt Aspiring College to replace poor condition relocatable classrooms, and better configure the site to accommodate future growth – $33.5 million (plus $13 million announced by this government in 2017). Construction is expected to start in early 2021.
- A rebuild of Twizel Area School, replacing existing relocatable classrooms that are up to 49 years old and in poor condition – $21 million. Design work to start early 2021, and
- Rightsizing Spotswood College in Taranaki, and replacing poor condition classrooms – $23 million. Design work starts from the middle of 2021.
“The schools are part of a new National School Redevelopment Programme that bring projects together under one co-ordinated plan.
“It is the most ambitious school redevelopment programme by a New Zealand government and will upgrade around 180 schools over the next 10 years, representing more than 93,000 student places and needing many more workers.
“The first wave includes around 40 schools and has a budget of up to $1.3 billion,” Jacinda Ardern said.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the four projects and the $32 million for Taita College, announced recently, will be a major boost to regional economies.
“The investment is vital to improve learning through higher quality classrooms. But there is another huge benefit from today’s announcement.
“Construction companies need confidence to plan, and this government’s approach to plan ahead and roll projects up into large, billion dollar programmes – which we’ve also done with the National Education Growth Plan – provides greater scale and certainty.
“Critically, this funding and our approach to look 10 years ahead sends a strong signal to the construction sector that we’ve got a full book of work lined up, and we’ll need a skilled workforce to do it.
“These five projects alone will need hundreds of workers. We’re working on that too by offering free apprenticeships and training courses and providing support to firms to keep on their apprentices through Covid.
“In August, we’ll make information available for the remaining schools in the programme, which is funded from a mix of depreciation funding and future roll growth.
“It adds to the $400 million Schools Investment Package, which we announced late last year and brings forward support for schools to carry out smaller scale building and upgrade projects,” Chris Hipkins said.