Rocketing rolls turn schools into building sites


Skyrocketing pupil numbers in the Lakes and Central Otago areas mean large parts of many schools in those places will be construction sites for years to come.

Schools in the Wakatipu and Wanaka areas have broken the 4000-pupil mark for the first time, recording 4275 full-time equivalent pupils in this year’s March Roll Return.

The data shows rolls in the area have increased 60.5 per cent in the past decade – and 8.4 per cent in the past year alone.

In the neighbouring Central Otago area, school rolls have increased 13.66 per cent in the past decade – 4.94 per cent in the past year.

Wakatipu High School principal Steven Hall says his school’s roll has gone from 591 in 2000, to 840 this year.

As a result, a new school is being built in Queenstown to accommodate the increasing roll.

“We move into the new school in 2018. It will hold 1200 pupils, but we will reach that capacity within a couple of years of moving in – we already know that.”

He says the school is already planning with the ministry to build on to the new site as soon as they move in.

Hall says a significant amount of the roll growth is caused “simply” by a flood of families flowing into the area from “all over the place”.

“People are coming from all over New Zealand – Auckland, Christchurch – and overseas as well.

“Queenstown just keeps growing and growing.”

Otago Daily Times