Final NZ Schools II Campus Set to Open


Emerging from the shadows of a dramatic mountain range, the site of New Zealand’s new Wakatipu High School is taking shape. Wakatipu is the last of the four schools to be built as part of the $298 million Future Schools Partners PPP that includes Programmed Facility Management (PFM). The school will officially open with 1,000 students in February 2018.

Wakatipu High School is currently located in Queenstown on a site which is not fit for purpose. The new site will be in Frankton close to the airport, in a sun-drenched spot providing sweeping views of the Remarkables and Southern Alps, with easy access to Queenstown’s famous outdoor sporting and tourist locations.

The school is on a fully enclosed site with an internal courtyard that has been specifically planned to provide strong wind shelter. Wakatipu has a strong focus on arts, sporting and outdoor activities and the new building will accommodate a theatre, dance studio, state-of-the-art lighting and recording facilities as well as having irrigated sports fields. It has also been designed to allow for expansion, with a project commencing in 2018/19 that will build an additional two wings and double the size of the gymnasium.

In preparation for the handover in December when construction is expected to be completed, PFM is in the process of recruiting a facilities management coordinator and grounds caretaker, and in the coming months will focus on inputting asset information and maintenance requirements into Maximo. The team will manage moving equipment from the school’s existing site to its new location with thorough planning and coordination between the school and the various contractors.

Design, construction interface and transition manager, Phoenix Lavin who is part of the NZ School’s Management team said the location presented some challenges.

“Queenstown is considered a remote location in NZ. The weather can make it difficult to fly in and out of the area. I have been trapped there a couple of times and also experienced an aborted landing.

“Because the property market is the second most expensive in NZ, that combined with the transient nature of the people staying there, makes obtaining sub-contractors harder than in other parts of NZ,” she says.

Other challenges include moving an established school that is effectively an owner/occupier to a location where it will become a tenant. The challenge is being managed via workshops where PFM is working with the school leadership team to establish operating procedures in the new site. This will help the school determine governance about how each area is to be used. In addition to these workshops PFM will have a dedicated property team on site. “We believe this is a positive change as it will leave the school free to concentrate on educational outcomes rather than maintenance tasks,” Phoenix said.