Wakatipu High’s $5m wishlist


Wakatipu High has hatched a multi-million dollar wishlist of extras for its new school at  Frankton.

In 2018 it will shift from its existing site, between Gorge Road and Fryer Street, to a seven-hectare property at Remarkables Park with capacity for 1200 students.

Ministry of Education policies and formulas dictate what’s built at new schools - anything beyond that and someone else has to pay.

Principal Steve Hall says it settled on priority ‘add-ons’ - a larger gym and a Maori whare – at last week’s board meeting.

Extras like a swimming pool, early childhood centre and all-weather running track have been dropped.

Hall says cost estimates are “very rough” but a larger gym might cost in the vicinity of $3.5 million while tiered seating in the expanded building might take $500,000.

“Around $1m” might be needed for the whare.

The school’s contacted the local runaka, or iwi authority - Oraka-Aparima at Riverton, Southland.

Hall: “Local Maori don’t have a place, as such.

“This would seem like an opportunity to link really well with the community.”

How to pay for the ‘add-ons’ is complex.

Hall says the school will likely hit up the local community trusts and he’s keeping Queenstown’s council informed.

But the costs might be hard to work out because the school build is a ‘public-private partnership’.

Last month, the government announced building consortium Future Schools Partners won a $300 million contract to build four schools, including Wakatipu High’s new digs.

Under the contract, Future Schools is responsible for designing, financing and building the school and maintaining it for 25 years.

If you expand beyond the ministry maximums, who pays?

“It’s not unsolvable,” Hall says, “but you have to sort it out.”