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Old school ties to historic home on the market for sale

Old school ties to historic home on the market for sale

A historic home converted from a country school that comes complete with rugby posts and a swimming pool, and boasts an Olympian among its former students, has been placed on the market for sale.

The former site of Richmond Downs School is located in Walton, 15km from Matamata. For more than 80 years it served the community, with former students including Olympian hurdler Lynette Massey. Due to dwindling numbers, the school closed in 2004.

Two years later it was bought by the present owner and being a draughtsman she could see the property’s potential and liked the challenge of converting a schoolhouse into a modern home. While some of buildings had been moved onto other sites, the original main building including the school’s largest classroom, remained. The transformation took nine years to complete - creating a comfortable home on landscaped grounds while retaining features of the schoolhouse’s history.

After nine years the owner has decided to have a change of lifestyle and has placed the property on the market for sale with Bayleys. It is being marketed by salesperson Neville Jacques of Bayleys Matamata through an auction process on 9 December, unless sold prior.

Located at 492 Piakoiti Road in Walton, the property is close to Matamata township, Cambridge and Hamilton and conveniently accessible to all the region has to offer including waterfalls, hot springs, Hobbiton and Lake Karapiro, said Mr Jacques.

“The property combines the best of both worlds – a tranquil sanctuary yet easily accessible to amenities, activities and the region’s natural beauty,” he said.

“This is the ideal home in peaceful surroundings, while also offering owners a gateway into all of the attractions of this beautiful area.”

The 190sqm house built on 1.2 hectares of landscaped grounds featuring a 13m swimming pool and changing rooms, tennis court, playground and 0.5 hectare paddock.

Built in 1924, the main schoolhouse is constructed of a weatherboard exterior, with timber foundations and joinery and an iron roof. The building has since been renovated into a comfortable three-bedroom, two-bathroom home, while still retaining several features of its historic past. The main schoolhouse building is now the master bedroom, with the original girls and boys toilets - still labelled - are the main bathroom, shower and laundry.

“Other key features of the home include an open plan living and kitchen area which is a former classroom and a recently completed new wing featuring two further bedrooms and two living areas,” said Mr Jacques.

Outside, the original school swimming pool, changing rooms, tennis courts and rugby pitch remain. The separate sleep-out was once a storeroom that has been renovated to modern standards.

“Combining modern comforts and its historic past, this is a distinctive property that stands out in a way few other homes in New Zealand do.”

Also on the grounds are a sleep-out, a single high stud garage, additional single garage, wood shed and tool shed.

Prior to the 1920s, Richmond Downs district did not have a school, with students instead educated in a makeshift classroom in the home of a local teacher, along with her own children. After student numbers swelled and a ministerial grant was approved, the first school in the area - Richmond Downs Primary School - was officially opened as on 25 February 1924 by then Tauranga MP Charles MacMillan. Teaching started three days later.

Over time the building are grounds were upgraded, including the addition of a teacher’s classroom, two further classrooms, library, staffroom, sick bay, swimming pool and tennis court. The most recent refurbishment before the school’s closure took pace in 1991, when the school underwent a major remodel. This included landscaping the gardens, with linked, covered walkways, cobblestones laid and garden planted.

“This property would suit a young family with children given the expansive grounds and facilities, or anyone wanting a large, relatively flat section.

“Opportunities for development include a small farming block, storage business or as bed & breakfast accommodation.”

For more information about 492 Piakoiti Road contact Bayleys Matamata salesperson Neville Jacques on 021 774 190


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