The Government’s announcement that it’s relocating Wakatipu High to Frankton opens a host of possibilities, board member Greg Turner (right) says.
The Ministry of Education yesterday (Wednesday) confirmed it’s bought eight hectares at Remarkables Park for a new high school.
“One of the issues we’ve always had where we are [in Fryer Street] is it’s a pretty cold place, especially in winter, but brand-new facilities will make a big difference.
“While we’ve done a lot of work to try and upgrade and improve, the reality is it’s grown in a pretty ad hoc way through the years so getting to start from scratch with something that’s going to last for generations, hopefully, that’s got to be a real bonus.”
Turner says that reading between the lines the school will be ready, in a best-case scenario, in three to four years’ time.
The land would need rezoning from residential, he notes.
Turner suggests the capital cost will be $50 million-plus.
“You would have to be thinking for the area that parents that are thinking about sending their kids away for schooling would be less inclined to do that, and that people that have been um-ing and aah-ing whether they might come here and bring their kids to school would have a different perspective.”
Turner says it’s not bad timing that the school recently spent $3m on infrastructure improvements including a new performing arts block, a cafeteria development and gym extensions.
“[The ministry] made it clear to us that if we didn’t spend that money it wouldn’t go towards a new school anyway, so there was no downside.
“Plus we’ve got the students that are there now – if they get any benefit from the new school, it may be only a year.”
The building improvements could also be later used for community purposes, Turner suggests.
“There’s a shortage of spaces for small conferences and theatre and what have you in town.”
Meanwhile, Remarkables Park developer Alastair Porter is he’s delighted for all of Queenstown’s future secondary school pupils.
“Their new school site is in a superb, very sunny location, at the geographical centre of the wider Queenstown area.
“The new high school will be at the heart of future expansion of the Remarkables Park Town Centre, which has been approved to double in size, and is also near to Remarkables Park’s proposed civic and other amenities, which will include performing arts and a conference centre.”