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They were like kids in a candy store – and that was just the teachers.

After four years of planning, building and moving, about 100 staff and 1000 students embarked on a new chapter in the history of Wakatipu High School yesterday at its brand-spanking new Frankton campus.

After a staged opening in which year 10 to 13 students came for orientation sessions last week and year 9 newbies visited on Monday, the $50 million-plus campus operated at full noise for the first time.

Principal Steve Hall calls it a “significant step” in the life of Queenstown’s high school, which has had various incarnations and homes since it was founded in the 1930s.

Parents have the chance to tour the school this week, next it’s the public’s turn – staff will be guiding 75-minute tours of the two-storey, 10,000-square-metre camp-us on Saturday at 10.30am and 1pm.

Hall says the big move from Gorge Road has gone swimmingly.

“There are still a few teething problems and things we will continue to work through, and that will go on for some time.”

The building’s high-tech climate control system, which measures and controls its temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide levels, “struggled” in last week’s heat.

The problem’s now been sorted.

“Generally it’s gone really, really well.”

While acknowledging the issues some Wakatipu schools are having with teacher recruitment in the face of the resort’s housing shortage and high cost of living, his school is fully staffed.

That follows what he reckons was “probably the best year of staffing we’ve had in my time”.

ed@scene.co.nz