The MP for Christchurch East Poto Williams who delivered the announcement for Minister Chris Hipkins is pictured with students from Lemonwood Grove School

New school for Rolleston

by Mike Isle

The government is to build a new primary school in Rolleston and increase the capacity of Lemonwood Grove School; it’s all part of a plan to make sure there’s enough space for our growing school-age population.

The new purpose-built primary will cater for 400 students when it opens in 2022 on land the government purchased for $3m within the Acland Park subdivision.

In making the announcement education minister Chris Hipkins said that since the earthquakes, more families are choosing to move to towns like Rolleston.

“The Canterbury region is a unique area because there’s significant growth in school-age kids in the outskirts of the central city,” he said.

“That is why we’ve bought land for a brand-new primary school in Rolleston. We’re significantly expanding Lemonwood Grove School for 350 extra students and building 16 classrooms at six other Canterbury schools.

“This is just the start. As the projects progress, we will be making further school property investments in Canterbury.

The Canterbury Region Growth Plan is part of the National Education Growth Plan unveiled earlier this month.

“We don’t want to see kids crammed in school libraries and hallways — this puts a strain on the teachers and the students. When parents are sending their kids to their local schools, we want them to be confident that they’re learning in warm, dry and comfortable spaces.

“For years, families, schools and the construction industry have been in limbo about any future investments in schools in their area, and schools have been struggling to keep up with growing school rolls.

“Our plan catches up and brings the building of new schools and classrooms in line with future growth. It also gives the construction industry certainty about what projects are in the pipeline.

“While there is no specific growth plan for the West Coast and Tasman regions at this stage, we are also building nine extra classrooms in those areas,” Chris Hipkins said.

The principal of Lemonwood Grove School Sean Bailey told The Record that the Lemonwood Grove School community was excited about the announcement.

“The government is being very responsive to the ongoing growth in Rolleston, especially in the south-west. Our stage two design will again be state of the art and will continue to drive effective collaboration between teachers and learners,” he said.