A much-needed and long-awaited renovation of the Whangaparāoa School hall (HM March 4) is set to start next month.
Built in the 1980s, the current fibro-clad hall was re-roofed two years ago, which highlighted the dilapidated state of the rest of the building.
Hall committee chair Helen Brown says the plan is to clad the outside of the hall with weatherboards, add a covered entrance and disabled access, and upgrade the toilet facilities. The estimated cost is $780,000.
“One-third of the hall is owned by the Ministry of Education, with the rest belonging to the community so that’s about how the cost will be shared,” Helen says. “We’ve already secured a $200,000 Lotteries Community Facilities grant and funds from the Lion Foundation. The Board of Trustees has contributed $150,000 and requests for smaller grants are underway, but we think we’ll have a shortfall of about $180,000.
“That’s the amount we hope to raise from the school and community through fundraising and donations.”
School principal Kevin Cronin says while the hall plays an integral part in the school’s activities, it is also an important community asset.
He says a range of interest groups such as before and after school care, holiday programmes, and bowling, karate and tai chi groups use the hall.
“The really exciting part of the renovation for me will be the internal fit-out, which will make the space so much more useable for both the school and the community.
“It will include a dance studio, music room, meeting area and an extended kitchen that can be used for teaching. It will become a truly modern, multi-purpose hall, which we provide opportunities for more use in the evenings.”
Kevin says it is a hard time to ask businesses to support the project, but the hall is an asset that will serve the community for decades to come.
“We hope former pupils, and maybe even the grandparents of current pupils, will consider a donation.”
The school, in Ladies Mile Manly, has a roll of just under 800 children.
The plan is to open the new hall next February.