Wednesday, 18 September 2019

WHITIANGA WEATHER

MBAS not only getting new wood and metal technology block, but also four new classrooms

Work on the reconstruction of the wood and metal technology block at Mercury Bay Area School (known as the Endeavour Block) is underway.

By the time the block is ready for use at the start of the next school year, students and staff will have waited 14 months for a dedicated wood and metal technology building after fire destroyed the Endeavour block in November 2018. The rebuild of the building got underway two weeks ago as more positive news was delivered by the Ministry of Education, who confirmed the school will get four new classrooms to help cater for the school’s growing roll.

Principal, John Wright, said he was very pleased that progress was being made, adding the “journey to yes” had been a long and at times challenging one.

“Of course, I would have liked to see the reconstruction of our wood and metal technology block happen more quickly. However, changes to the building code meant that we couldn’t simply put back exactly what was there previously. There are new requirements we need to meet and that means more cost, so that’s what we’ve needed to work through with the Ministry and I’m very happy that we’re there now,” he said

Mr Wright paid tribute to the staff and students who have had to operate within a temporary set up which was less than ideal.

“They’ve coped incredibly well. We converted our hall into a makeshift wood and metal room which has served our Year 7s to Year 10s. Our Year 11 to Year 13 students have had to spend this year focusing on the theory elements of their courses. They’ve been able to do some practical experience, but not as much as I would like and I feel sorry that that was the case for our senior students. As educators, we always want to give our students the best possible experience and we know circumstances didn’t allow that to happen this year. But what we’ve had is a real lesson in resilience and everyone has done a great job,” he said.

The school worked extremely quickly in the aftermath of last year’s fire to remove and save as much equipment as possible, which will be reinstalled in the new building. However, funding has also been provided for the purchase of some new gear.

Welcoming the allocation of four new classrooms, Mr Wright, said, if everything went to plan, construction would get underway early next year. “We have yet to have those discussions in terms of where in the school they will be or what they will look like, but we know our site is well set up, all the infrastructure is there. I’m optimistic we can get things moving fairly quickly,” he said. He also said the announcement made by Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, came after almost four years of lobbying.

Looking ahead, Mr Wright said the school was continuing to target areas for development based broadly on their strategic plan developed in 2004. The four new classrooms would just cater for the 1,035 students currently on the roll, but with the school growing by an average of 35 to 40 students a year, the Board of Trustees would be continuing to seek investment from the government to ensure all areas of the school meet the needs of a growing Mercury Bay community.

Pictured: Reconstruction of Mercury Bay Area School’s wood and metal technology block will be completed late this year/early next year, in time for the start of new school year.

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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.