Ngaruawahia High School has been given $8 million and Cambridge High School $9m for infrastructure development by the Ministry of Education.

Some of the money will go to new blocks, but some will go to refurbishment, such as fixing leaky buildings and providing earthquake strengthening.


Once work is complete at Ngaruawahia High, a wananga on the front of a new block will be visitors' first impression of the school.


That will show the importance of Kingitana and Tainuitanga to the school, principal Chris Jarnet said.


"The school has to reflect who attends it."


Other projects will include demolishing an old block, refurbishing the technology block, reroofing several blocks, and seismic strengthening for the gym.


"For us, it's virtually a complete rebuild, really. The one building they're not touching is probably our ILE [innovative learning environment]," Jarnet said.


The investment shows the school is an important part of the education network and the community is delighted, he said.


"It was a pretty good week, that week, by the time we had ERO [the Education Review Office] giving us really positive feedback … and the minister announcing that we have got $8 million to do the school up."


"The school is old. It's 53 years old now … I'm a builder by trade — the buildings are getting worn out."


The school had about 225 students at the start of the year and Jarnet wants to get that up to about 400 in five years.


Roll growth is already under way at Cambridge High School.


The exciting bit of the renovations, as principal Phil McCreery puts it, is getting a brand new block to replace a 1953 building.


"The staff over there in the arts and the homeroom situation and the transition department have sort of been hanging in there for redevelopments, so they're going to get the best they could possibly hope for."


The new block will have space for about 200 more students, but other work needs to be done before the the roll climbs to 1700.


"The school was originally built for 700 students, so our storm water, sewerage systems and so forth are all at maximum capacity now, and they're going to be upgrading all those," McCreery said.


The leaky building plague of the late 1990s and early 2000s also affected school property, so work is needed on buildings, including the library.


Construction on the projects is expected to start in 2018, Education Minister Hekia Parata said in a statement.


"Both schools have issues such as leaky buildings or classrooms that are old and in poor condition, so this will be welcome news for their communities," she said.


"As with all major redevelopments, the focus at both schools will be on providing flexible learning spaces that support an innovative learning environment."


The Waikato announcement is one of a series that have been made around the country, including a recent $9m redevelopment for Edgecumbe College in the Bay of Plenty.


Image source: Mark Taylor/Fairfax NZ

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