New school for Ladies Mile

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A new school is being planned for Ladies Mile in Queenstown, as a housing development boom puts pressure on school rolls.

In its submission on the controversial Laurel Hills special housing area proposal, the Ministry of Education confirmed it would look for land along Ladies’ Mile for a new primary school.

That will be in addition to another new primary school confirmed by the ministry in 2017.

It comes as Shotover Primary School’s roll capacity is set to increase to 900, making it one of the biggest primary schools in the country.

Laurel Hills is expected to include 156 new houses, which the ministry anticipated would accommodate 45 to 50 children.

It was also aware of other planned development within the school’s catchment, according to the submission.

”The cumulative effects of this increase and other growth in the area on Shotover Primary School is of concern for the ministry.”

It would now, in conjunction with the Queenstown Lakes District Council, ”develop a clear plan to facilitate the acquisition of land for a future primary school in the Ladies Mile area”.

Ministry deputy secretary, sector enablement and support, Katrina Casey yesterday declined to discuss details of the new school, saying it was still in development.

”We work closely with the Queenstown Lakes District Council to identify future growth areas and potential developments to help inform our planning.

”We have also previously engaged with the local community and continue to work with schools in the area to ensure that our planning reflects the community’s needs.”

Speaking to Mountain Scene last month, Shotover Primary School principal Ben Witheford said Shotover Primary’s current site could not cope with any more than 900 pupils.

”We would get quite nervous if no other education providers were planned, in addition to the other new school,” he said at the time.

His comments echoed those of Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult, who said in December two new schools might be needed.

The ministry announced in early 2017 that it was looking for land for a new primary school in the Wakatipu.

Little more has been revealed publicly since then, but many believed it would be located in the Jacks Point-Hanley’s Farm area.