Almost all of the old Warkworth Primary School buildings will be demolished when the $13 million redevelopment of the senior campus announced in March, takes place next year.
It had initially been hoped that the original front façade of the school could be retained, but the high cost of remodelling and extending the buildings, plus the presence of high levels of asbestos, have made this unworkable, principal Cynthia Holden says.
Instead, the 10 existing classrooms, administration area and the old school dental clinic will be demolished, and a new two-storey block with 14 teaching spaces, three music rooms, a library and a changing room will be built along the western edge of the campus, parallel with Kaspar Street. The school hall will remain, along with the current staff room and resource room, which will be redeveloped as a stand-alone building.
Mrs Holden says lengthy consideration took place between the Ministry of Education, architects, developers and the school before the final decision for an almost complete rebuild was made.
“We’re mindful that many people are emotionally attached to the school because it has been a long-standing symbol of education in Warkworth since 1945,” she says. “We’re sensitive to the community’s feelings that there will be a sense of loss, but at the same time we have to move with the times.”
Mrs Holden says the new school layout has also been designed to allow for the maximum hard court play area, so students have space for sport and play should Shoesmith Domain be closed for any reason.
Senior students will relocate to temporary classrooms on the junior campus from next term to allow the redevelopment to take place, with demolition due to start in April and construction of the new buildings in July.