School Rebuild

Posted by ThorndonAdmin on September 15, 2016


Thorndon School is embarking on an exciting journey to transform our campus to meet our vision for teaching and learning, now and into the future. We will be posting information to keep our school community updated about the redevelopment project.

This rebuild which will take place over 2017-18 and will modernise our teaching and learning environment.

Thorndon School's aim is to be a place which is "Developing independent and creative thinkers and learners"

Our vision is for children to become both creative, independent learners and to achieve to their potential.

The purpose of the New Zealand Curriculum and our school curriculum is to educate our children by engaging them in a creative, collaborative learning culture. The teaching and learning is personalised; the children learn to work together combining a variety of approaches.

Over recent years, our teachers and children have developed flexible ways of learning together from small groups, through class and syndicate groups, to project teams; this flexibility is enhancing social learning and relationships.

We value the powerful sense of belonging, collaboration, and purpose that our syndicate teams create; therefore, syndicate teams will become the primary unit of organisation within our school. We want to create innovative learning spaces that will allow children to learn as a syndicate team, but also in a range of smaller, flexible groupings.

Innovative learning environments (ILE)

The world we are preparing our children for is always changing. Education needs to keep pace with this constant evolution.  Innovative learning environments are capable of adapting as educational practice evolves.

One definition of an ILE is this one from the Ministry of Education’s site:

A learning environment includes the physical, social, and pedagogical context in which learning occurs. An innovative environment supports strengths-based teaching and learning. It offers students and teachers flexibility, agency, ubiquity, and connectedness.”

The Ministry of Education has been very supportive in working with the school to design buildings that will support the constantly evolving way of teaching and learning at Thorndon.

You can find more details on the philosophy and design of ILE’s as well as some New Zealand examples here.  

The rebuild at Thorndon will include several unique elements of artistic design that reflect the natural and human history of the  Pipitea / Thorndon area, based on the overall theme of ‘mai te kakano ki te kohure’ – from the seed to the mature plant. This symbolises the learning journey and growth of our students.

Our journey so far

2012     Weathertightness report completed. Basic remediation carried out.

2013     McKenzie Higham Architects engaged as designers. Initial master plan completed.

2014     Work scheduled to begin in 2015.

2015     Master plan signed off by Thorndon Board of Trustees.

2016     Preliminary design drawings approved by Thorndon Board of Trustees.

Into the future

2016     Design to be completed. Tender to be let. Library and prefab units demolished.

2017     Stage 1: Construction of new admin block and Year 3&4 learning studio completed.

            Stage 2: Demolition of main block. Construction of three additional studios underway.

2018     Stage 2 completed.

Teaching and learning during construction

During construction we will remain on site and our school programmes will continue as usual.  There will inevitably be some disruption resulting from the movement of classes as the different stages of construction are undertaken.

In the first stage the current library building and associated prefabs will be demolished. A new learning studio that will house the whole of the Kereru team will be built in its place. At the same time a new administration block will be built next to the ‘white house’ and the ‘white house’ itself will be redeveloped as a library and staffroom.

In the second stage the current admin and the main block will be demolished and three more studios will be built to house Tui, Kakapo and Kea teams. The construction zones will always be fenced off to ensure the children’s safety. Play space will be restricted during the building process but we will ensure that there are adequate and safe play areas. The hall and Ata Kimi Ora field will not be affected by the building programme.

Health and safety

The new building will comply 100% with new building standards.  Safety of students, staff and general public during construction will have high priority.

Health and safety plans will be put in place prior to any work proceeding on site, and will be actively managed throughout the construction period. Construction zones will be in place during construction, with no access available for students, staff, or the general public.

For more information

We have setup a display board in the school foyer, with floor layouts and proposed design ideas. Please feel free to drop in and view these, and ask us any questions.

You may contact the office on 04 472 4267 or email Hela.

This slideshow from our architects, McKenzie Higham shows the thinking that they have put into the design of the build, and also has a number of reference images from other ILE's around New Zealand.