Flash new-look Queenstown Primary School launched

2 minutes read
Posted 5 July, 2024
Queenstown Primary School leader tour guides who showed guests around the new look school at the ready with their maps

Queenstown Primary School leader tour guides, who showed guests around the new-look school, at the ready with their maps

Queenstown Primary School’s $1million-plus property redevelopment was officially opened last week after two years of hard work, but it’s straight back to fundraising a further $400,000 for the remaining projects in the school’s 10-Year Plan.

About 50 invited guests, including Southland MP Joseph Mooney, Ministry of Education officials, Queenstown Lakes Mayor Glyn Lewers, Māori leaders and former school families, were welcomed to the 2 July launch with principal Fiona Cavanagh performing the karanga. The school’s Central Otago Lakes champion Kapa Haka group performed before guests who were given a tour by head students.

Last Thursday (4 July) all parents and those interested were offered tours of the new-look school after another mini-ceremony where Cavanagh spoke. Year 5 students served up delicious, free veggie soup as well.

The redevelopment includes 10 new classrooms, repurposed from Wakatipu High School and fitted out for primary school use, a new junior playground based around a pirate ship, whānau room with cooking facilities, sandpit, AstroTurf surfaces and upgraded hard courts.

The new double-glazed classrooms have replaced 10 old sub-standard, single-glazed ones. Cavanagh says the redevelopment has all been thanks to funding from Aotearoa Gaming Trust, Central Lakes Trust and the Community Trust of Southland, with funds also contributed by the school board and Ministry.

“In the 10 years that I have been leading QPS, many Boards of Trustees have planned for substandard buildings to be replaced and for the site to be more child friendly,” Cavanagh said, at the opening.

In 2022 the Ministry approved the new relocatables from Wakatipu High School to become permanent fixtures, opening the way for the redevelopment.

The board and school leaders are wasting no time. The ‘QPS Project’ fundraising initiative was also launched at the opening, in the hope of raising a further $400k by 2027 to complete the school’s 10-year-Master Plan. This next development phase will incorporate a strong cultural narrative, in keeping with the Māori heritage of the school grounds – once a wetland and important food gathering place for mana whenua.

A base has been set in the grounds to create a celestial compass that, in time, will signal puaka, the Matariki star seen from the site, Cavanagh says. A waharoa will adorn the school entrance gates from the new front staircase. A bike track and hopefully a new senior playground, along with other outdoor upgrades, will also be part of the ‘QPS Project’.

Queenstown’s oldest state primary school, Queenstown Primary, which opened in 1975, celebrates its 50th anniversary on 29 April next year with a date yet to be set for the celebrations. Cavanagh’s hoping many past pupils will attend.


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