Hall handover a community milestone


Contractors are scheduled to hand over Shotover Primary School’s new sports hall tomorrow.

The multimillion-dollar facility is the last building phase for stage one of the master plan for the school.

But principal Ben Witheford says expansion is already on the horizon.

The school opened last year with a roll of 120. It has now reached 245 and Witheford expects it to expand to 300-315 pupils by the end of the year.

Witheford says early 2017 is a likely time for the school to expand. It already has approved funding for two new habitats; the equivalent of eight traditional classrooms.

The public will be able to book the 1050sq m sports hall from May 2, for the same rates as the Queenstown Events Centre.

“It’s a pretty significant milestone,” Mr Witheford says.

Queenstown’s council, having contributed $1.77 million to the gym, will now take the back seat.

The primary school will manage the gym – bookings for sports such as netball, basketball, volleyball, tennis, and futsal can be made through its website.

“The board’s vision is that the school’s in the heart of the community,” Mr Witheford says.

“I think this gives real life to that because it’s a facility that we can take care of on behalf of the community.”

Shotover Primary School has also struck a deal for staff accommodation. The school is renting a teachers’ house specially built by GJ Gardner Homes, with staff charged a “favourable rate”.

One of the school’s new teachers, Emily Forne, moved in last Sunday. When the house is not occupied by a teacher, it will become a normal rental property.

Witheford: “In areas like ours and in Auckland, where housing prices are fast rocketing through the roof and you’ve got people on fixed incomes, it’s a very increasing need.”

There will be another house built on the same property for the same purpose at a later date.