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Western Springs redevelopment well on track

Tom O'Leary Nov 11
Western Springs redevelopment well on track
The $80m redevelopment of Auckland’s Western Springs College is the largest single investment in a school in New Zealand.

Work is progressing on the $80 million Western Springs College redevelopment in Auckland. The project is the largest single investment in a school in New Zealand.

Being undertaken by Downer, the steel structure of the three storey main teaching building is up and roofing supports for the lantern roof/ventilation and light well are complete.

The precast concrete panels for the gymnasium, that adjoins the northern face of this building, are now being installed.

The foundations to the two storey teaching block for the Maori immersion unit are completed and the concrete precast panels are being installed.

The foundations for the performing arts space for the immersion unit are also complete and steel work installation will begin once an old teaching block is demolished.

In addition the three existing retained buildings will start to be modified from the July school holidays onwards so that all building works will be completed by February 2020.

School principal Ivan Davis says that the school is still operating well despite the large nature of the project. The southwestern part of the campus is housing a temporary school on a sports field.

Permanent buildings, that will be demolished once the new school has been built, are also in use. A container bridge has been erected to provide access to certain parts of the school.

When the new buildings are completed the students will move into these allowing for the demolition of buildings, including the temporary school, in the southern part of the school.

A third sports field will be reestablished here. The re-build project is occurring as the school is located on a landfi ll site, which closed around 1960.

The school opened in 1964 on the site and has been plagued by subsidence and sinking ground levels ever since.  The extent of site issues meant extensive specialist reviews and resulted in a long planning process.

The site of the new buildings have been excavated down to basalt with 25,000 cubic metres of landfill removed from main site and 9,000 cubic metres from the Maori immersion site.

It has then been backfilled with crushed concrete compacted every two metres to provide a stable foundation for the new buildings. Site works took nine months in total.

The ground issues combined with ageing buildings and weather-tightness issues has made the project one of the most complex school redevelopments undertaken in New Zealand, says Ivan.

Western Springs College is a co-educational secondary school and is located in a high growth area.

The redevelopment project involves two brand new teaching blocks offering a total of 64 teaching spaces.

One of the blocks, which contain 12 teaching spaces, is for Nga Puna o Waiorea, the college’s Maori immersion-Rumaki unit.

The two new blocks will mean that the total number of teaching spaces at the college will be 81 including 17 existing teaching spaces that are being upgraded and repurposed. For example the existing library will become the student canteen.

Ivan says that the rebuild will increase teaching space capacity by about 25 per cent allowing the school to cater to around 1700 students up from the present 1460. The project also includes a new gymnasium as well as upgrades to the existing hall and administration areas.

it also includes a $4 million upgrade of TAPAC, the Auckland Performing Arts Centre situated on the school grounds.

The current redevelopment project is expected to be completed in time to welcome new students in 2020.

“Western Springs College has an outstanding academic record and it will be a really exciting phase for the school as we will be able to provide them with buildings that are fi t for purpose and up to standard.”

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