Emerging from the shadows of a dramatic mountain range, the site of New Zealand’s new Wakatipu High School is taking shape. Wakatipu is the last of the four schools to be built as part of the $298 million Future Schools Partners PPP that includes Programmed Facility Management. The school will officially open to 1000 students in February 2018.
Wakatipu High School is currently located in Queenstown on a site which is not fit for purpose. The new site will be based in Frankton close to the airport, in a sun-drenched spot providing sweeping views of the Remarkables and Southern Alps with easy access to Queenstown’s famous outdoor sporting and tourist locations.
The design is a fully enclosed site with an internal courtyard specifically that is designed to provide strong wind shelter. Wakatipu has a strong focus on arts, sporting and outdoor sports and its new building will have a kiln, 200sqm storage facility and additional practice fields. It has also been designed with expansion in mind with a project commencing in 2018/19 that will see an additional two wings installed and double the gym in size.
In preparation for the handover in December when construction is expected to be completed, Programmed will recruit for an FM Coordinator and Grounds Caretaker in the coming months who will focus on inputting asset information and maintenance requirements into the asset management system. The Programmed team is also assisting with moving equipment from the school’s current site to its new location which has meant a lot of planning and coordination between the school and the various contractors.
Design & Construction Interface & Transition Manager Phoenix Lavin who is part of the NZ Schools Management team said the remote location presented some challenges.
“Queenstown is considered a remote location in NZ. The weather can make it difficult flying in and out of the area and I have been trapped down there a couple of times and experienced an aborted landing.
“Because the property market is the second most expensive in NZ and combined with the transient nature of the people staying there, obtaining sub-contractors for servicing is harder than in other parts of NZ,” she says.
Other challenges include moving an established school where they are effectively an owner/occupier to a location where they become a tenant is potentially challenging. This includes established operating procedures in the new site in addition to having a dedicated property team on site. “We’d like to think this is a positive change as it leaves the school free to concentrate on educational outcomes rather than maintenance tasks,” she says.