Pupils give new school A pass

The 430 pupils at Wanaka's new $21.5 million primary school gave it a resounding "cool" report card during their first day yesterday.

Playgrounds were a hive of activity as the children explored their new Ironside Dr environment.

Staff and parents spent the two- week school holiday relocating the school from its former Tenby St grounds and a special alfresco celebration was held for the new facility's first day.

About 150 parents and other members of the Wanaka community also took the opportunity for a guided tour of the new school.

Principal Wendy Bamford said the school would be officially opened between March and April by Education Minister Anne Tolley.

Yesterday's celebration was attended by MP Jacqui Dean. Board of trustees chairman Pete Bullen said Mrs Dean had supported the quest for a new primary school for the past five to six years.

"I'm thrilled to be invited here," Mrs Dean said.

"It's been a slog and the board of trustees and your principal have worked hard."

Mr Bullen said it had taken a long time "to get to this point in time. This is a wonderful new home to work, learn and playin".

The new school consists of six pods, each containing three to four classrooms, and can cater for 560 pupils.

Dr Bamford said travel plans incorporating walking and cycling routes had been completed, however, police would help monitor traffic flows during the next two weeks.

It was hoped work on the new school hall would start next month. "Watch this space," Dr Bamford and Mr Bullen said.

The Southland Times