Good things take time but a long-awaited upgrade for Hawea Flat School, including four new classrooms, to accommodate its burgeoning roll is finally coming to fruition.
Principal Tania Pringle said construction work would begin later this year and should be completed by mid next year.
The 294-pupil school’s roll was expected to grow to 300 before the end of the year and would increase to 320 in 2022, in line with “steady growth” in pupil numbers, she said.
The school, which has a total staff of 25, including teachers and support roles, had been accommodating pupils in temporary classrooms and had been coping, but the situation was close to “borderline”, Ms Pringle said.
The main feature of the upgrade is a new building housing four classrooms, which would be built in the corner of the school bordered by Kane Rd and the school’s bike park.
The roll growth classrooms were approved by the Ministry of Education (MoE) in 2019.
The 400sqm building will also include four shared learning areas, a kitchen, an outdoor wet-play area, and toilets accessible from both inside and outside.
A small portion of the bike park next to the school would be needed for the building, to ensure retention of the green space in the rest of the school.
The bike park fencing where it borders Kane Rd and St Ninian’s would also be improved and additional vegetation planted.
Improving the school’s essential infrastructure, including electricity, wastewater disposal and firefighting capability, was another aspect of the upgrade.
Six water tanks for firefighting would be installed and the wastewater disposal field enlarged and relocated away from the junior school playground, to the pine tree area of the bike park.
The pine trees would be removed and sold as firewood to raise funds for the school.
Pathways would also be built to improve access.
About half of the bike park will be closed while construction is under way, to enable the building team to set up a base without disrupting learning and play at the school.
Ms Pringle said the school’s area was experiencing rapid population growth. Its zone covers from Queensberry in the south to the neck of Lake Hawea in the north.
Planning for the upgrade began about two years ago.
Longer term upgrade plans include new physical education equipment storage during the next two years, along with reinstating the edible garden and upgrading the pump shed for potable water supply.
As part of a five-year development plan, new covered outdoor learning areas are envisaged, plus shelter from prevailing winds, renovation of classrooms, new nonslip decking, and improved ventilation in bathrooms.
A master plan for the school was being developed to determine maximum pupil numbers, which Ms Pringle expected to be up to 500