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Salisbury School Board ‘Thrilled’ about School Rebuild Plans


13 November 2019

The Board of New Zealand’s only single-sex residential school for girls with complex needs is thrilled about the planned multi-million dollar rebuild to replace its aged buildings.

Education Minister Hon Chris Hipkins and Associate Minister Hon Tracey Martin announced today a construction budget of $8 million to replace Salisbury School’s out-dated classrooms and rundown residential accommodation that are no longer fit for purpose for its 20 students. The new school will have a reduced footprint on the current Salisbury School site.

Salisbury School Board Chair Emma Thompson said the Board is over the moon the plans for a fit-for-purpose school are going ahead.

“It is really exciting to know we will have new school buildings specifically designed for what our extraordinary students need, given that their needs are a lot more complex today compared to when our current buildings were designed,” says Thompson. “It is fantastic that the need of our students has been listened to.

“We are also pleased that our staff will have the environment they need to deliver their teaching programmes. They have been unwavering in their amazing work for our students, and the Board thanks them very much for their patience. We would also like to acknowledge our previous Principal Brenda Ellis and current and previous Trustees, whose combined commitment to the school has helped us get to this exciting point in time.”

Meanwhile, Thompson said the Board had been advocating for a smaller footprint for many years.

“We have said for a long time that a cleverly designed school for our needs doesn’t require as much land as we currently use. It is great that we will still have the space necessary for our students and the ‘tranquillity’ expected of a residential special school, while having some of our land made available for other educational purposes. As an Enviro Green-Gold Award winning school, ensuring the school is sustainable and environmentally friendly will also be a key focus for us.

“While the new purpose-built facility is great news for the school and students, we’re conscious that parts of the school have been in operation for a century and have historic value,” she says. “The Board will advocate for some of the buildings to be relocated where possible and we will look to retain our ‘blessed’ native garden. A few trees are heritage listed, so they will also remain.”

Thompson adds that the rebuild and amendments to the enrolment process currently being discussed with Ministers, will enable the school to grow the roll to cater for demand.

“Given the known need for the specialist residential schooling we offer, the Board’s vision is for a school of 20 growing to at least 40 students in the future. We will work with the Ministry to ensure the master building plan is future- proofed for the growth envisioned in the next decade.”

The school has started to compile detailed information for the Ministry to inform the design.


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