Building Redevelopment

April 2019 update from the Board Chair

Elmwood has entered the post-earthquake program for school rebuilds, which all Canterbury schools are gradually working their way through. The rebuild process will bring Elmwood’s facilities up to date and in line with current and possible future teaching and learning practices.
The first stage has been to prepare an ‘Education Brief’. This document sets out how Elmwood children grow through their learning journey, and what makes a child’s learning at Elmwood special. The Education Brief was completed at the end of March 2019, based on feedback from the community and staff that was gathered throughout 2018.
The Education Brief has been submitted to the Ministry of Education for review. Once the Ministry signs it off, which we expect may take a few months, the various rebuild partners will be appointed, such as architects, engineers and constructors.
We expect that the entire process will probably be two to three years but in essence we see some of the older smaller blocks being replaced and the main building upgraded. The rebuild will be a little disruptive with some class rooms demolished but we will work closely with the Ministry to ensure the disruption is minimised as much as possible. However there is no doubt this is exciting times!
We look forward to working with the Elmwood Community to ensure the rebuild process achieves the best possible outcome for our future learners.

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