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Corbel Construction to deliver $16m upgrade for schools

Corbel Construction chosen to deliver $16m upgrade for North Canterbury schools

Four North Canterbury schools are currently undergoing a $16 million redevelopment as part of the Ministry of Education’s programme to expand and upgrade their facilities to support modern teaching and enhance students’ learning and achievement.

The Ministry of Education appointed Corbel Construction (Corbel) in early March following a competitive tender process and work commenced shortly thereafter at the Oxford Area, Rangiora Borough, Ashgrove and Southbrook schools. More than 2,000 children attend the four schools and teachers and students are looking forward to testing out the new layouts from first term 2017.

All four schools will get new teaching blocks encompassing flexible learning spaces, breakout areas, wet areas and specialist teaching facilities.

Shane Fletcher, the Principal of Southbrook School said, “It is exciting that the schools involved in this project can follow up their extensive efforts of investigating and evolving a future focussed curriculum by operating in modern and highly functional physical spaces. Effective collaborative teaching and learning programmes are proving to be more beneficial than the traditional 'single cell' model and these learning spaces will enhance the capability of all of the schools involved to continue to develop the quality of this enhanced pedagogy.”

The redevelopment programme will ensure schools have ‘fit for purpose’, safe and inspiring learning environments and are able to accommodate current and future growth. Both the Oxford and Rangiora communities have experienced population growth following the Canterbury earthquakes, the first of which struck in September 2010.

Corbel’s Christchurch General Manager Ross Meikle said, “The North Canterbury schools programme is part of the Ministry’s plan to raise student achievement by ensuring students can learn and achieve in the best possible environments. This is exactly the type of project that Corbel likes working on. The community and especially the students, want to be involved, and are acutely interested in seeing their school evolve.”

In total, over 100 tradespeople and around 30 subcontractors have been working across the four sites.

Ross Meikle said, “All four of these projects overlap school terms so our overriding focus is on ensuring safety and minimising disruption. This extends to use of separate entrances, no deliveries during drop off and pick up times and strict adherence to local noise control regulations.

“Our project team also communicates regularly with the school principals and other stakeholders so everybody is aware of progress. We have also been able to bring the kids into the construction area, using assembly areas with child friendly hoardings. This not only shows them what we’re doing and what their new school will look like, but provides information back to the parents and the community.”

Corbel is working on a number of projects for the Ministry of Education in the Christchurch Schools Rebuild Programme. Recent Corbel projects include: the $5 million Shirley Primary School refurbishment, the construction of a $2.2 million classroom block at Tai Tapu School completed in April, and the $3.8 million construction of a new hall of residence for the Bishop Julius Trust at the University of Canterbury completed in January 2016.


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