Building Redevelopment

August 2018 – From the Board Chair

The Board has decided that it is now time to commence the post-earthquake redevelopment of the school. This is a significant process which will impact the school for at least the next 3o years. While we have been living with some parts of the school that are less than ideal given their age and we would have liked to upgrade them sooner, we concluded that they remained workable in the short term and that some other schools needed their work sooner than Elmwood. Also, and importantly, potentially rushing the process might lead to less than desirable outcomes and from what we are hearing, the Ministry and its rebuild contractors have ‘learnt from their mistakes’, so coming in towards the end of the whole process is not a bad thing. Finally, to know where we were, the Board had to deal with the auditorium, which the Board 80% owns, which had considerable post-quake and leaky building issues.

In any event, the Board has entered the rebuild process, which is likely to take around 3 years. Initially, the school must prepare an ‘Educational Brief’ whereby we decide what and how learning works at Elmwood (essentially our learning philosophy).  Once the Brief is agreed with the Ministry of Education, they appoint a team to plan and design the school.

While we will endeavour to think about the rebuild as widely and openly as possible, there are limits as to what we can do and also what we need to do. Obviously the amount of funding is a primary issue, as is the size of our school both in terms of physical size and roll and zone size (the latter in particular impacts the amount of funding available).  Not all buildings need replacement (although we are keen to see the old junior block replaced) and some only need minor refurbishment. But how we go about this all comes back to the Educational Brief. I think it’s fair to say we want to see a modern and flexible environment, but one that reflects Elmwood’s history and core values.

During the Educational Brief process, which will take us into early 2019, it is the intention of the Board to engage with the Elmwood community to learn more fully what their desires are around learning. I encourage you to support this process, with an open mind, so that we get the very best we can for our current and future learners.

Malcolm Hollis – Board Chairperson