Waimea College is one of the largest secondary schools in the top half of the South Island. Its role is currently at around 1600 and it is predicted that this will increase to around 2000 in the next 10-20 years. The strong role growth has put the school under immense pressure and made the need to plan for expansion urgent. SRA Architects were appointed to prepare a masterplan. This proved to be a highly complex and involved process due to the constraints. Essentially the school had more or less run out of available land to build on and a radical rethink was necessary.
The value adds and benefits we brought to the project included the following:
Plan for expansion while keeping a growing school operating. This was achieved through a carefully considered staged strategy that saw certain zones of the school targeted for demolition and redevelopment while always ensuring sufficient teaching spaces and support areas where available. Construction areas were mapped out to enable the school to continue functioning with minimal disruption. This complex masterplan and sequencing strategy were developed with the school’s close input and Ministry oversight.
Providing a heart to the school.
Currently the school has no strong centre or heart. The de facto centre is being utilised as an asphalt carpark with its attendant safety problems and lack of a sense of place. As a value add we have provided a new focus and heart to the school that is a safe place with vehicles removed and also works as a community interface. It is seen as being analogous to a traditional village square surrounded by the key town buildings. In this case with the school it is formed by the Administration/main entry building, the library, the performing arts faculty, and the school hall.