School project a win for community
The aim of the new Lepperton School project is to empower lifelong learners by building a collaborative community school, says new school principal Andrew Retallick.
The project is the ﬁrst new school built in the Taranaki district for 25 years and will provide a modern learning environment with multiple learning hubs and collaborative teaching.
It is a project that has been a decade in development and Andrew says that the Board of Trustees and staff spent many hours researching and visiting other schools as well as examining its teaching philosophy to work closely with the architects to design a school that will cater for 21st century learners.
“By providing ﬂexible learning spaces we can really cater to a variety of children with different needs such as students working independently or in groups.
“It really allows students to learn at their own pace and in their own way and recognizes that one size doesn’t ﬁ t all when it comes to learning,” says Andrew.
Lepperton School is located in North Taranaki and presently has a roll of around 170 students from year 1 to year 6. The new school building will offer three modern learning hubs catering for 70 learners, three teachers and support staff in each, a new library and an administration area is also part of the building.
It will also include mini theatres with tiered seating for a technology rich learning environment. It is not only the children that will beneﬁt but also the teachers, says Andrew, with opportunities to work collaboratively and also learn from each other.
The project will also include a new playground and sports court. The project is unique in that it will also incorporate a combined school and community hall.
The New Plymouth District Council agreed to sell the existing community hall and land, and donate some of the proceeds to the new hall on the school grounds, which will be jointly run by the community and the school.
Andrew says that it will provide a great facility for the community, offering a wide range of uses for sport, meetings and functions.
“It’s certainly strengthened the relationship between the local community and the school,” he says citing one positive outcome.
Andrew says the school has worked closely with construction company Livingstone Building that has been extremely ﬂexible and adaptive to the needs of the school.
“We’ve really embraced the build because it is a signiﬁcant project for our community. So it’s also provided learning opportunities as the build has progressed and the children can see the project develop,” says Andrew.
The school dates back to 1870 and the project was precipitated when it was discovered that the old school was a leaky building.
The project, which commenced in November last year, is due for completion late 2018 and Andrew says it will help cater to the growing Lepperton community by providing capacity for around 200 students. “The new school will be a cutting edge building in this rural community so it’s really exciting for everyone.”
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