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Fitting out . . . Oamaru North School principal Peter Roundhill is excited about the school's $1.5million renovation project, scheduled to be completed in August. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

One of the largest school renovation projects in the Waitaki district is on track to be completed within six months.

Oamaru North School is in the process of having six classrooms in its main block fully upgraded, a project which has involved the classrooms being completely gutted to be rebuilt from scratch.

Construction work on the project started in November and is funded by the Ministry of Education. The final cost is to be $1.5million.

Oamaru North School principal Peter Roundhill said the renovations would provide larger, more modern learning spaces for pupils to enjoy, and described the project as “one of the largest” seen in the district.

“We’ve taken out the internal walls so each classroom space has been extended. We will end up with two groups of three classrooms and pods.”

New fire alarm systems, heat pumps and full internet services will be installed, as well as electronically controlled upper windows.

A decked area will also be constructed at the front of the block to provide an elevated surface.

Other than some noise, Mr Roundhill said the construction had not disrupted lessons.

“We have some classrooms out the back. We have some prefabs that are available for us, and we’re also using the last two classrooms of the main block.

“It’s worked out fine – effectively the school is in one area, so school’s just continued on.”

He said the school’s junior pupils would be the first to move into the new classrooms, followed by the senior pupils.

Mr Roundhill believed the new classrooms would benefit both pupils and staff.

“For us, it’s the modern environment and learning spaces. It’s also about more technology – it’s going to allow students to be more co-operative and independent.

“The ministry has an initiative called the innovative learning environment, in which classrooms are more than rooms to work in .. we’re wanting to connect the students to the world.”

The classrooms are expected to be completed in August.

An official opening is being planned.