McLenaghan family with the school’s Kowhai learning community

As ‘fete’ would have it

by Mike Isle

West Melton’s thriving school has new outdoor classroom space and an extension to its playground area, thanks to a “massive” fund-raising effort from the local community.

In April this year, a country fete organised by Friends of West Melton School attracted 5,000 people and raised $40,000 for the new facilities, which were built during the July school holidays.

Friends of West School spokesperson Emma Smith said the fete was also generously supported by several local companies, including gold sponsors McLenaghan Contracting, Ray White West Melton and the Your Section development in Wilfield.

“Through this amazing support and a lot of hard work [we] were able to raise a massive $40,000 the school could use for upgrades not funded by the Ministry of Education,” she said.

Those upgrades include an outdoor classroom space with decking and seating, built by local builders Chris Fifield Building Limited. The playground extension, which adds slides, a tussock garden and wooden amphitheatre, was built by McLenaghan Contracting.

“Both contractors went above and beyond expectations, using their skills and resources to make the outcomes more incredible than imagined,” Ms Smith said.

The school’s principal Susan Jackson said the effort was an example the school continuing to build and support strong community relationships, and teamwork with the local and wider communities.

Our kids are benefitting in so many ways,” she said.

“Recently, the addition of a magnificent outdoor learning space and an extension to an existing playground has provided further learning and play opportunities for our learners and teachers. Landscaping and native plantings, guided by our cultural narrative, have accentuated the learning environment.

“These long-awaited projects, to complement our existing learning and play spaces, were as a result of the hard work and drive of our Friends of West Melton School team.

“It has also been a privilege to once again work with McLenaghan Contracting who have continued to support West Melton School for well over 20 years. They have created an amazing outdoor space from bare ground.

We are also very grateful to Chris Fifield Building Limited, who built the huge outdoor learning space.

Ms Jackson praised the school and wider community for supporting fundraising events and for, “enabling us to increase an already great teaching, learning and play environment for our children and community.”