Lawrence Area School held an official opening ceremony recently to mark the completion of redevelopments costing more than $6 million.
In 2017, the school began to upgrade several facilities to improve accessibility.
The Ministry of Education was contacted when local builders discovered badly water-damaged framework in the music suite, library and the science laboratories — all of a 1990s design that was acknowledged as having potential water-tightness issues.
Though the spaces were no longer fit for purpose, the school was ‘‘over code’’ in terms of teaching spaces and the rooms would not be rebuilt.
A big-picture solution was needed and since the main blocks were 60 years old and somewhat aged, the ministry proposed a redevelopment within the existing footprint.
Following detailed ‘‘future-focused, outside the square’’ consultation with community and pupils, architects Stephenson & Turner were engaged and Naylor Love was named as head contractor for the project.
The build progressed stoically throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, materials shortage, asbestos removal, and Lawrence’s seasonal extremes.
‘‘It was good for our students to see the team work, the problem-solving, the pride taken on a job well done,’’ principal John Auld said.
‘‘Room 1 was connected by a learning street, junior school classrooms were cleverly designed and constructed, an innovative senior school with a ‘learning commons’ created, an amazing library and state-of-the-art science laboratory installed, an ultra-modern staffroom designed and built, and well-placed reception, offices and workspaces provide quiet space for everyone.’’
Engagement between school and construction people included barbecues and competitions and the fencing enclosing the build site became a canvas for a mural painted by the school caretaker with input from every pupil.
The recent opening ceremony was attended by council, government and iwi dignitaries.
‘‘We love our new classrooms, love our new buildings,’’ Mr Auld said.
‘‘They are future-proofed and most certainly fit for purpose.’’
The school has a roll of 138 pupils up to year 13.