Tekapo school redevelops with an eye to the future
Lake Tekapo School is forging ahead with big changes to ensure the needs of its school community are well-catered for in future years.Unprecedented growth in the Mackenzie District is inevitably flowing through to its small rural towns, such as Lake Tekapo.
The local school roll has risen from 22 to 41 over the last few years and is on track to increase further, reflecting current development trends in town.Working with the Ministry of Education, Lake Tekapo School has acted proactively to meet future growth.
Three prefab buildings, formerly located at the University of Canterbury, were moved to the school in September 2019 and, over the summer break, were being reconfigured to form a new teaching and learning space.
This is due to be finished in time for the start of the 2020 school year. A new community and administration block is also underway and, with associated landscaping and roading, is on track to be completed by April 2020.
“We are hugely thankful to the Ministry of Education for the opportunity we have been given,” says school principal Simon Weymouth. “We consider ourselves to be incredibly lucky.”
As part of the site redevelopment work, the school’s ‘Green Room’ – a learning space already upgraded by the school and a local benefactor – is also being repositioned, along with the playground and sports shed.
Promoting water safety is another big priority for Lake Tekapo School, which has completed a major school pool upgrade.A new 15-metre by 5-metre pool has been built to cater for recreation as well as the teaching of swimming and survival skills. It replaces an old 12-metre by 4-metre pool.
“Tekapo is obviously surrounded by water and, with the terrible statistics around swimming and drowning, it was felt this was a priority and also links well to achievement and wellbeing for our children.”
Having the new pool means children can now undertake water survival routines and complete swimming goals. Qualified swimming instructors can be engaged to give swimming lessons.The local community, led by the school’s board of trustees, has been massively supportive.
In total, the pool upgrade cost $281,000 and the school has raised $171,000 to date. The project has been well supported by the Aoraki Trust and the Mackenzie District Council, with the latter donating $39,000 in 2017.
“We are now looking for $90,000 to fund a toilet and shower block to get the pool fully accessible for the community. The school has applied for funding through a variety of funding providers and is working closely with the council to ensure a positive result…We hope it can become an asset not just for our children, but also for our community.”
The school is also exploring potential links between the pool and the D’Archaic Reserve development. “It makes perfect sense to be developing the current spaces with a community focus and the school and council are discussing this at present.”
Lake Tekapo School is proud to be part of an evolving community hub that includes a community hall, community kindergarten and recreational reserve.“In addition, we see this development as a vehicle to engage the community in the changing landscape of education for our children.”
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