Marlborough Express - New school an exciting opportunity for Marlborough

Columns
Thursday, December 10, 2015

The announcement that Blenheim's colleges will be colocated on one site is fantastic news for our community - now we just need somewhere to put them.

As often happens in these situations, speculation on where that might be is rife.

What I can say is that, like everyone, I have some personal views about where the schools might go, but there certainly has been no official decision made by the Ministry of Education about a site, or even a shortlist of potentials.

I see the Marlborough Express even included the A&P Showgrounds in an online reader survey of potential sites: I can honestly say that this is the first I've heard of this location being an option.

This is to be a community decision and there is absolutely no hidden agenda on this issue.

I was in continual contact with the Education Minister Hekia Parata, the high schools and the community throughout the process of making a decision on the schools' future.

I intend to maintain this close contact as the process of choosing a site commences.

The community will be listened to, as in fact it has been on the decision to co-locate the schools.

This option, which retains the history and culture of both colleges, was the community's clear favourite of the potential solutions during the public consultation process.

The other two options had been retaining and maintaining the existing colleges, which both required major and costly upgrades, or building a new co-ed college.

The new schools, which will be built using $63 million of Government funding including land costs, are scheduled to be up and running by 2021.

This is Marlborough's chance to design innovative, state-of-theart, inclusive learning environments.

By combining resources, these schools will potentially offer a wider range of subjects and so further the achievements of generations of Marlborough teenagers to come.

The schools will not only be future-proofed to cater for our continuing population growth, but Parata says the community will have the chance to think about the type of education we want for our children and consider how it links all the way from early childhood education to tertiary options.

This is such an exciting opportunity for Blenheim, and I look forward to the next step in the process of making our new high schools a reality.

The community will be listened to, as in fact it has been on the decision to colocate the schools.