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One of NZ’s Oldest School’s Opens NZ’s Newest Buildings

3 April 2014

One of NZ’s Oldest School’s Opens NZ’s Newest Buildings

Tomorrow sees the opening of the first two of several new buildings on the Rangi Ruru Girls’ School campus in Christchurch.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority head, Roger Sutton, will officially open the Science Centre and Gibson Centre, launching the schools 125th anniversary celebrations.

Principal Julie Moor says this is an important milestone not only for Christchurch but for girls’ education.

“These are quite simply exceptional buildings which have been designed specifically for girls,” she says. “Rangi Ruru is a progressive school in both the learning environment and the pastoral care we provide. As the city continues to rebuild, we are proud of what we have all achieved in a relatively short period of time, with the concept plans for the “Project Blue Sky” campus redevelopment having first been announced publicly in July 2012.”

Julie Moor says one of the key considerations in the campus and building design has been how important social experiences are in a girls’ life and as it’s the school’s 125th anniversary this year, many former students are returning to Rangi for the celebrations, reinforcing the close lifelong relationships the girls develop while at school.

“Spaces for building friendships and positive social interactions have been interwoven throughout the campus, along with elements that embrace the very latest in environmental sustainability and technology.”

Craig Brown, a director of Melbourne based McIldowie Partners Architects attending the opening on Friday, agrees adding that the Science Centre is “kind of like a living, breathing giant science experiment”.

“It’s a living building that will actively engage the students by being the very latest, environmentally responsive building that uses natural ventilation for both heating and cooling (which might indeed be the only one of its kind in New Zealand), together with things like displays of how systems work, green walls and weather stations. The masterplan has focused on the Rangi Ruru campus being an evolving, vibrant learning environment specifically designed for girls,” he says.

Both the Science Centre and Gibson Centre, (the latter named after the sisters who founded Rangi Ruru in 1889), feature flexible learning spaces, digital displays which can be incorporated into learning – e.g. water use, solar power etc), and energy efficient design.

Another new building, Student Services and Social Sciences (yet to be officially named), will be opened in May with both the Art and Technology faculty buildings re-opening later in the year. Plans for the new Music and Performing Arts Centre are almost ready to be announced.

Julie Moor says the new buildings being opened and the launch of the school’s 125th anniversary at the Rangi Ruru Old Girls’ Association Cocktail Party this Friday, are significant.

“We are fortunate as a school community to be able to redevelop the campus with the next 100 years in mind, while retaining the rich history that is inextricably linked to the Merivale site and the school as a whole. The opening of these two buildings will be a time of reflection and celebration of the Rangi spirit as we look boldly to the future.”

Official Opening of the Gibson Centre and Science Centre
1.30pm, Friday 4 April
The official opening of the Gibson Centre and Science Centre.
54 Hewitts Rd (enter off Hewitts, if parking is tight, perhaps park on Merivale Lane)

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