New Boarding School Announced
We are delighted to announce an exciting project which the College has been working on for the past five years. At its August meeting, the Board agreed to the building of a forty-four room boarding house to be located onsite in the area of our car park by Katherine Avenue. As you will be aware, the only boarding accommodation for school students in the capital is for boys but there is no equivalent for girls. This gap in the market is an opportunity for us to provide high quality accommodation for our international students and also New Zealand girls living outside Wellington who would like to experience our educational offering.
Over the past decade, we have strategically developed our buildings (Click here for an overview of the College development) and now, after much research, we believe the time is right to advance this initiative. Prospective parents often ask whether we offer boarding and this project will see us being the first school in Wellington in current times to provide this as an option.
As well as the hostel development, the existing junior playground and courtyard will be re-developed. The much loved Neptune playground, provided by the Parents’ Association in 2009, will be refurbished, a modular playground structure built and a long slide and stepping stones equipment installed. With the addition of new decks, paving, outdoor furniture and planting, the area will be transformed into an inviting recreational space as illustrated in these drawings and landscape architect’s description. Our goal is to have the playground and courtyard finished by the start of the 2017 school year as the first stage of the overall development.
As you know, the College was founded in 1919 as a day school with a small number of girls boarding. In 1950, according to our school history, ‘with great reluctance, the Board decided that it must close the hostel’ as at that time boarding had gone out of favour. However, today the situation is quite different as demonstrated by the strong demand from international and domestic students for boarding at similar independent schools in New Zealand. Because of this we are reinstating a boarding establishment onsite to be called Queen Margaret House (Click here to see some images of the building).
The extensive business case that was developed to support this initiative showed that the boarding house will:
- be self-funding and will not impact on school fees
- provide further financial resilience to the College as it will contribute another important dimension to the quality independent education we offer
- provide opportunities for the school to access new facilities such as the large dining room and laundry
The completion date for construction of Queen Margaret House is set for late 2017 so it will be ready in 2018 to accommodate students at the start of the year. The project has been designed by McKenzie Higham Architects and will be built by Maycroft Construction Ltd who were involved in the construction of the Pre-school. Carol Weston, former Chair of the Development Committee who worked on both the Hobson Development and Preschool builds, will be the Project Manager of the boarding facility construction.
That the school is in a sound position to continue to develop the College’s future is testament to the strong parental and community support that we receive and for that we thank you. Building will begin early in September and we will regularly update you via our regular Friday newsletter as to how the project is progressing.