The first walk through and blessing of Mount Aspiring College’s new performance, music and technology suites last week wowed pupils, teachers, board members and guests.
Ngai Tahu mana whenua Kiringaua Cassidy and Paulette Tamati-Elliffe led the single-file procession of about 60 people through every corridor and room in the two-storey building, with Mr Cassidy chanting karakia to invoke goodwill and protection.
The building is just one element of a much larger $46million expansion at the college to cater for forecast roll growth to 1800 pupils.
The school plans to begin using the suites this term.
Board of trustees chairman Dr Ian Hall said it was a “red-letter day” for the school and he was delighted former principals Maurie Jackways and Wayne Bosley attended.
“Today is a very significant day after many years of waiting. We have got the first of the new buildings blessed and students will be able to move into the suites,” he said.
“It is very nice to have two former principals here. Wayne in particular sweated blood over this for a very, very long time,” Dr Hall said.
The redevelopment would be officially opened in January next year, principal Nicola Jacobsen said.
Covid had delayed the construction schedule for the performance, music and technology suites by one month but the entire development was on track for the January ceremony, she said.
“It will be a really important event for the whole community,” she said.
The performance and music suites would contain some of the best technology in terms of sound and lighting.
They also contained a black box theatre, something Wanaka has never had before.
“The Ministry of Education has been incredibly generous in terms of what kind of facilities we could have,” Ms Jacobsen said.
The college redevelopment has been the talk of the school for many years and head pupils Ella Parker and Harry Gilbertson, both in year 13, said they were delighted to get a sneak preview and were excited for those who will get to use the buildings.
“It is amazing to see it all come together. My whanau will be able to use it . . . It is amazing to think it has been planned the whole time we have been here,” Ella said.
Harry, a music student, has been eyeing up all the new music equipment.
“It will be so good to get in there,” Harry said.