Redcliffs School designs released

Main Rd entrance to the school.

Concept designs for Redcliffs School have received positive feedback from parents and staff.

Preliminary drawings were revealed last week at two meetings, one for Redcliffs Park neighbours organised by the Ministry of Education, and one organised for the wider community by the school.

At the first meeting, architect Hugh Tennent and MoE lead case manager David Hobern spoke to park neighbours about work that had been done to mitigate the impact on neighbours’ views.

The drawings show the school buildings tucked into higher ground on the south-west corner of the site next to Main Rd, with car parking further along towards Beachville Rd.

Friends of Redcliffs Park spokesman Chris Doudney
said he wasn’t surprised they had built on that section as it was “above flood level” on higher ground.

Asked if the designs showed the ministry was trying to mitigate the effects on neighbours, Mr Doudney said: “I think they have a good architect.’’

He said he wasn’t against the school being built there.

“If it wasn’t a park and if the school didn’t have a better
place I would welcome a school
in that location; I’m not anti-school, I’m just anti taking our park when the ministry has never given a reasonable reason for abandoning the school – ever. And that’s the key issue.’’

Friends of Redcliffs Park have sent a 200-signature petition to Parliament in a last-ditch bid to return the school to its former Main Rd site. The petition will be considered by the Education and Workforce Select Committee this month.

Board of trustees chairman Darren Fidler said were “a lot of emotions in the room,’’ at the meeting for neighbours but he thought the opportunity to hear from the architect and the ministry had been well received.

He said the school was very happy with the designs which “delivered perfectly” on their education brief – the blueprint for the style of education the school wanted to provide.

The connection from Moa Bone cave through to the water was important and that was reflected in the ‘spine’ of the school running from the cave to the water, said Dr Fidler.

“We’ve also tried to keep the buildings up on the higher level so we’re not encroaching on the park and also angle them towards the city to be sensitive to the views of the park’s neighbours.”

And the buildings are configured to provide shelter from easterly

Internally, the spaces would be configured to allow for co-teaching “but with plenty of breakout and quiet spaces.”

Dr Fidler said parents and teachers from Redcliffs School had visited other schools around the country to gather ideas and Tai Tapu was one they really liked.

“Because of the different nature of the topography there it won’t look like Tai Tapu School (outside) but a lot of the things with regards to the layout of the spaces, how the teachers work together and the scale of the spaces will be very similar.”

It was likely there would be minor alterations to the final design over the next few months, he said, with construction expected to begin towards the end of the year and a completion date at the end of 2019.