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Revolutionary new school defies earthquake odds

Revolutionary new school defies earthquake odds

The one year anniversary of the February earthquake finds many Christchurch schools still struggling to cope. Over the last year many have had to share campuses, while others are struggling with demolished buildings and falling rolls.

For St Andrew’s College however, we are fortunate to be able to mark the anniversary with the opening of a brand new school for our years 4 to 8 students.

The new Preparatory School Learning Centre will be opened by His Excellency Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, Governor-General of New Zealand on Thursday February 23 at 10.00am.

Rector Christine Leighton says the new preparatory school was almost ready for use when the February quakes struck, and it survived well with its deep foundations, and strong structure, but adjoining buildings and site damage on the college campus caused delays in the opening of the school.

“St Andrew’s, like many other schools in Christchurch, has faced many challenging moments in the last year, and this new building symbolises our hope for a strong future for independent education in Christchurch,” says Christine.

For Jonathan Bierwirth, Principal of the Preparatory School Learning Centre, the school is the culmination of 15 years of thoughts and dreams about designing a school for the future, with flexible layout and the latest in technologies.

“We’ve been developing a style of learning around the key competencies that we recognise and accept as integral to learning. We have lovely and high achieving students, a hardworking and talented teaching staff, but now we have the environment to match.”

Part of Jonathan’s philosophy was to incorporate wide learning hallways, to replace corridors. These expansive areas provide the opportunity for quality discussion and break out groups. The classrooms have foldaway doors so learning can extend effortlessly into the learning hallways.

The new school includes a café, specialist rooms for food, science and art, tutorial facilities for music and drama.


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