Work starts on new Wakatipu High School

22nd March 2016

Construction of the new Wakatipu High School in Queenstown is about to begin.

The first sod on the school’s site at Remarkables Park in Frankton was turned yesterday. The school buildings are expected to be ready for the beginning of the 2018 school year. The school will continue to operate from the existing site until then. At the Remarkables site, the year 9 to 13 school will be able to expand its roll from around 840 to 1200 and then will be big enough to cater for up to 1800 pupils in the future.

Rob Giller, acting head of the education infrastructure service at the Ministry of Education, said the school would have a multipurpose theatre space, gym, specialist learning facilities, a dance studio, and a music rehearsal and recording studio. There would be grounds for football, rugby and cricket, and hard courts for netball and tennis. Details of the design were still being finalised.

Wakatipu High School is being built and maintained under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with the Ministry of Education. Under the PPP, the private partner is responsible for designing, building, financing and maintaining the school for 25 years after it opens. The ministry pays the private partner quarterly and the provision of education remains the responsibility of the principal and board of trustees, and the Government retains ownership of land and buildings throughout the life of the contract.
Developer Alastair Porter, chief executive of Remarkables Park Ltd, said it had had a “very positive” experience working with the Ministry of Education to bring the school to the Remarkables Park site. He said the company was in discussions with more education providers to establish complementary educational institutes and student accommodation at Remarkables Park, in addition to the existing SIT campus, student housing and child-care centre.

The school would be easily accessed by pupils, parents and teachers thanks to regular bus services, the future Eastern Arterial Road, walking and biking trails and a future jet ferry. “We believe the school will also act as a major shopping anchor for the existing and expanding Remarkables Park Town Centre.”