Ministry of Education expects savings from new classroom plans

"This will give schools a chance to see what 'good' looks like."
"This will give schools a chance to see what 'good' looks like." Photo credit: Ministry of Education.

The Education Ministry has published a set of classroom designs it says will save time and money on school building projects.

It said the reference plans would give schools a starting point when they needed to design and build new classrooms and classroom blocks, or renovate old ones.

School principals have previously told RNZ that designing and building new rooms took too much time.

The Education Ministry's head of capital works, Sam Fowler, said the designs had already been constructed and had worked well.

"It's a collection of designs that we've successfully delivered at schools. The designs we've selected have delivered high-quality learning environments at schools and actually we've repeated a number of these already," he said.

"This will give schools a chance to see what 'good' looks like, rather than starting with a blank piece of paper, and consider what works best for them."

Fowler said the ministry spent more than $1 billion a year on school infrastructure including building, and renovating classrooms and the reference plans should save a considerable amount of time in the planning phase.

"A lot of time can be spent at the start of a project working with schools on the right solution for them. This should speed that process up."

He said reference plans were not standard designs that could be built immediately from the plans because each school site was different.

"The intent is to use a common starting point but all schools are unique, all sites are unique so it's important that we work with schools to develop the right solutions for them," Fowler said.

"Schools will still need to engage an architect and designer to take these reference designs forward and make sure they're adapted and they're the right solution for individual schools and that they reflect and respond to the school's existing estate."

Fowler said the focus of the reference plans was on the layout of the learning areas.