2016 August

Christchurch’s Cashmere High School is preparing to embark on a major $21.8 million dollar upgrade.

The draft plan for the major project is expected to cost about $1m more than the $20.8m dollars allocated by the Ministry of Education, but the board of trustees is confident the school can plug any overspend.

The project includes a proposal to demolish and rebuild the school hall, which has problems with leaking.

The hall’s capacity of 400 would be doubled to fit 800, principal Mark Wilson said.

Cashmere High school principal Mark Wilson says a $20 million upgrade of the school's facilities will take three years to complete.

Cashmere High school principal Mark Wilson says a $20 million upgrade of the school’s facilities will take three years to complete.

It would be too small to fit all of the school’s 1900 students, but Wilson said the space had a variety of uses.

Choirs, music groups, drama, theatre sports and guest speakers were among those who would benefit.

The major upgrade was originally scheduled for 2018, but an announcement was made last year to bring it forward by two years due to urgent repairs needed on leaky buildings.

Work had not begun yet, but Wilson expected it to begin over the Christmas break.

The final cost of the project would be determined by the market, he said.

“We believe that it is becoming more competitive in the construction market for pricing, so are hoping this will mean our budget will be able to go further,” he said.

Wilson said the upgrade was likely to go over budget, but Board of Trustees Chair Geordie Hooft said there were a range of options the school could pursue.

Hooft said the school had “savings” it could use. Fundraising was also an option, as was going into debt – “which sounds scary, but schools are allowed to borrow money and there are safeguards in place to ensure it’s done responsibly”.

Wilson said the current facilities were “fragile”, with underground pipes held together by clamps.

Students were using the toilets in the teaching blocks as gym changing rooms.

Music groups could no longer practice in rehearsal rooms.

“The leaky area [in those rooms] was so bad there was the risk of mould,” Wilson said.

He said the pending upgrade would eliminate these issues.

The school’s special education unit, which also leaked, would be demolished and replaced under the proposal.

New arts and science facilities would be built.

The school waiting for final sign off by the Ministry of Education, Wilson said.

He estimated the project could take up to three years to complete, and said it would be carried out in stages to reduce potential disruption.

– STUFF
Reported by: EMILY MURPHY
08:45, July 7 2016

2016 August

Aerial Tour – Drone Flight over Cashmere High School – May 2016.

Credit: Active Planet

2016 August

Plans for a $20 million dollar upgrade of Cashmere High School have been delayed by at least eight months, despite urgent repairs needed on leaky buildings.

The major upgrade was originally scheduled for 2018, but last year an announcement was made to bring it forward by two years, to coincide with urgent works in April 2016.

Work has not begun yet and is unlikely to start before Christmas, principal Mark Wilson said.

Cashmere High school

There were a “range of reasons” for the delay, he said, including discussions with the Ministry of Education on roll size and a budget review process.

The work is part of a $138m Government funding round for repairs to five Christchurch schools.

BOT chair Geordie Hooft said a hall the size of The James Hay Theatre would be required to fit the entire school.

BOT chair Geordie Hooft said a hall the size of The James Hay Theatre would be required to fit the entire school.

The school was in the process of finalising its master plan, Wilson said. Part of that would determine which buildings needed to be repaired, and where rebuilds were possible.

Board of Trustees chairman Geordie Hooft said the current facilities were “not comfortable” to operate in. There was a sense of urgency.

Water occasionally dripped into a storage room connected to the performing arts centre, he said. He’d seen first hand “the water running in”.

Hooft said the centre was a priority, but funding constraints meant they had to do their best with the resources available.

“In a perfect world we’d build something like [Burnside High School’s] Aurora Centre, but that would be a dream.”

The school’s special needs education building leaked and had earthquake damage. The school’s hall also had issues with leaking and was too small to fit all 1860 students.

Hoof said a hall as big as the “James Hay theatre” would be required to accommodate students in the future – something that was not possible.

“It is one of the bigger issues,” he said.

“It could take $5m just to build a new hall – that’s 25 percent of the budget gone.”

Money was needed to upgrade classrooms and for horizontal infrastructure, he said.

“I’m sure every department would be able to spend $20m if they could get everything they wanted.”

The redevelopment included plans for a new visual arts block, special education facilities and drama and science blocks, Ministry of Education head of education infrastructure service Jerome Sheppard said.

“We are consulting extensively with the school to ensure the redevelopment will meet the current and future needs of the school.”

The project would be done in stages, with completion scheduled for early 2019.

Meanwhile, Wilson said expecting construction to start in April was always going to be an ambitious target.

The process was complex, he said, and the school still needed to go through a detailed design stage, before the project went out to tender.

– STUFF
Reported by:: EMILY MURPHY
May 31, 2016.

2016 August

Cashmere High student Nola Smart accepts a $100,000 sustainability prize from United Arab Emirates vice president Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, Mexico president Enrique Pena Nieto and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed.

Cashmere High student Nola Smart accepts a $100,000 sustainability prize from United Arab Emirates vice president Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, Mexico president Enrique Pena Nieto and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed.

An energy-conscious Christchurch school has won $100,000 to install solar panels, a wind turbine, and kinetic energy-producing tiles.

After four years building its vision to become sustainable, Cashmere High School stood out among nearly 1500 entries from 97 countries to win the United Arab Emirates Government-funded Zayed Future Energy Prize.

Students Nola Smart, 17, and Lily Williams, 15, and teacher Leith Cooper travelled to Abu Dhabi to collect the award last week.

Principal Mark Wilson said the win came after one of its student-led interest groups, the Sustainability Council, started the ecoDriver project in 2012.

The school had since cut its electricity usage by a third, including saving $30,000 a year by installing LED lightbulbs, and running a “Switch off” campaign.

“Our kids really took it up.”

Along with its energy saving accomplishments, Cashmere High’s innovative plans to produce its own energy caught the attention of judges for the international award.

Wilson said the oil-generating Middle Eastern country was trying to find other ways to encourage sustainability.

The money would fund its plans to install solar panels to reduce carbon emission by 5 tonnes per annum, and generate long-term savings of $30,000 over five years.

A New Zealand-designed wind turbine would become a “highly visible focal point”, attracting visitors to the school and generating significant education and publicity.

Piezoelectric floor tiles – which students walk and jump on to generate electricity to charge their mobile devices – would become a “fun and dynamic” way to educate about generating sustainable energy.

“It will be fairly revolutionary in what we’re going to be doing,” Wilson said.

“Ultimately the benefactor of this initiative will be the taxpayer. In a sense the school’s not going to be financially benefiting from this.”

Young people were observant too, and the school had to lead by example, he said.

“You can actually show the kids that not only are we trying to teach the good values and concepts around good sustainability, but we’re putting it into practice as well.

“This award will enable our school to invest in a new energy future that is sustainable and inspires teenagers in New Zealand to take action.

– STUFF
Reported by: JODY O’CALLAGHAN
January 24 2016.