New science block in the works for WBHS

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Waitaki Boys’ High School staff are waiting for building assessments to finish before quake-strengthening upgrades can begin on the grounds.

The school is planning to demolish the science block and replace it with new labs in the junior block. The art room is also set to be expanded.

Waitaki Boys’ High School senior master Ken McCallum said the science block needed to be demolished because it failed to reach 34 per cent of the new building standard for earthquake-prone structures.

“We have the option of demolishing the whole building, which we are going to do, and then rebuild it, but we will move the classrooms upstairs to the junior block because it will cost us less than what it would for a new building.

“They just aren’t fit to do up and we feel the best option and most practical with the funds available is the option to renovate the junior block.”

The school has around $670,000 available for the renovations and is still waiting to find out how much the ministry will provide.

“It will cost about $700,000 for the required people to go around and do the required earthquake-strengthening,” Mr McCallum said.

Once the final assessments were complete, the aim was to put the building out for tender, kick off the construction process at the end of the term and have the work completed by term 3 next year, he said.

Moving science labs into the junior block meant non-science classes would have to share the labs, but Mr McCallum did not believe this would be too problematic.

“We have looked at all the options and feel this will still work. Classes will have to cooperate with who is using the labs, but it shouldn’t be a major issue,” he said.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY

NEW HOME: Ken McCallum holds plans of the new developments at Waitaki Boys’ High School.