Shirley Boys' falls into Parata's lap
One of Christchurch’s main secondary schools may fall into Education Minister Hekia Parata’s restructuring lap, courtesy of the earthquakes.
Today, the principal of Shirley Boys’ High, John Laurenson, told staff in an email “there is no chance that Shirley will be built on its current site”.
“The cost of land repair alone is $12.5 million, with no guarantee another big earthquake would not create similar damage to the ones we experienced since 2010.
“The great news is that the ministry are committed to rebuilding a school for boys to serve the needs of the people in the east.
“However, this will not be an instant action as a suitable site has to be found before rebuilding takes place and there are several options that will need to be explored. The entire process will take up to four years to get us to a new school.
“Our current site is safe and will be occupied safely for the next few years. Business as normal for up to four years, then one day in the future we close shop on a Friday at our current site and reopen on Monday at our new site.”
Notwithstanding Mr Laurenson’s optimism about the future, Shirley Boys High was one of the 13 schools targeted for closure when Ms Parata dropped her restructuring bombshell on Canterbury schools last year.
Shirley Boys, with 1400 pupils, was mooted to merge with Christchurch Boys High on the other side of the city in Fendalton.
Ms Parata and the ministry quickly backtracked and claimed the restructuring document was a prelude to consultation on the plans to close 13 schools and mergers for 18 others.
The closures and merger plans were temporarily placed on the backburner - last week Ms Parata highlighted the opening of two schools in new subdivisions at Halswell and Pegasus Town, incorporating nearby Waikuku School.