What started out as a refit soon turned into a full›on rebuild, which has temporarily deprived Lawrence Area School of eight classrooms, its library, administration and staff amenities.
About five years ago, parts of the main school block, constructed in the 1990s, were found to have leaks and other faults.
The reasons became apparent when contractor Naylor Love (Dunedin) removed the wall claddings on the two main classroom blocks at the school late last year.
It discovered deteriorating structural problems associated with the original rimu timber frame and trusses, and historic construction methods that were not in line with modern building codes.
Site manager Jarred Graham said it was ‘‘shocking’’ to see what had been done, and how the timber frame had deteriorated.
“We started removing the claddings from the walls in the north and south classroom blocks, and the underlying conditions were very visible, so it was decided that the buildings needed taking back right to the floors.
‘‘So, in theory, we are basically rebuilding it as a whole new building.’’
The school will eventually have eight new classrooms, a new library, new teacher rooms and new administration offices and staffroom.
The design provides an internally›accessed ‘‘learning street’’ that links all the buildings together, as well as offering more break›out spaces and learning modules for teachers and pupils to use.
Principal John Auld said it was very exciting to see the rebuild under way.
“We will get all these new, modern teaching and learning facilities, and it’s very open›plan to allow for a more modern learning space,” he said.
Year 12 pupil Flynt Longley (16) said he was looking forward to the new facilities.
“They will be a great asset and, being more modern and technologically up to date, the kids here will accept and use them more than the old prefab style of classrooms we’ve been using.”
Mr Graham said the increased workload had extended the project completion date to April 2022, but the work was on schedule and builders expected to hand back the rebuilt main classrooms at that time.
Earlier estimates of costs were in the region of $7 million.