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Redevelopment for Spotswood College

Redevelopment for Spotswood College
Te Waka Manaaki is the first phase of Spotswood College’s redevelopment.

A redesign of New Plymouth’s Spotswood College is set to bring the almost 60-year-old school’s layout in to line with modern learning environments and 21st century thinking, making maximum use of space and enhancing the sense of every part of its buildings being used for learning and achievement.

The project involves the build of a new learning support centre, Te Waka Manaaki, to meet the particular educational needs of students who require more space to move around, and in some cases manoeuvre wheelchairs, higher ratios of staff to students, and the opportunity for therapists to come in to the school to work with students.

Already completed by Livingstone Building, Te Waka Manaaki is the first phase of the school’s redevelopment and was opened on December 5. Now Spotswood College’s new gymnasium is under construction by ICL Construction.

“The ministry condemned and then demolished our old gym, and our PE staff have been without a gym for three years, which has been really challenging for them,” says Spotswood College principal Mark Bowden.

The gym has been designed in such a way Spotswood College can add to it in future without too much difficulty.

Once the gym is completed in about a year’s time, construction of Spotswood College’s new science block will begin, and be followed by a redevelopment of the existing buildings near the science block.

Then Spotswood College’s arts students will have their turn. The library is going to be moved into the front half of the school’s existing hall, while the back half of the building will be redeveloped into a performing arts centre, with the music room added next door.

“Drama and music will have their own spaces and the lighting and sound systems to really enhance the work our students do,” Mark says.

“Our school has a strength in performing arts. We attract a lot of students who are musicians, thespians, and artists, so this development is really going to enhance their achievements.”

Finally, the school’s wharenui will be moved from the back of the school to the front of the school, in what was the library.

Mark says the design of the redevelopment enhances the sense of Spotswood College as a learning institution, because of the connection between all parts of the school.

“Learning is our focus,” he says. “We use every part of the building for learning and achievement, rather than a conveyor belt to get us from one classroom to another.”

He says it also supports Spotswood College’s vision to meet the needs of any student, whether they be artists, technicians, Maori, or have particular physical needs. “We think they’re all important,” he says.

“That fits in to 21st century thinking where not all students are the same, and not all students learn in the same way. ‘We believe the development of the property to reflect that is going to enhance student outcomes, and put the particular resources in place to ensure we meet the needs of all students, however diverse their learning needs.

“We’re seeing those resources come to us now and we’re excited by it. It’s for our kids, and our kids deserve it.”

Spotswood College’s redevelopment is part of a Taranaki-wide scheme by the Ministry of Education to improve facilities in schools across Taranaki.

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