Government invests $20 million to fix Botany Downs school's leaky buildings

The Government will invest $20 million to repair leaky buildings at an east Auckland school, the Education Minister has announced. 

The money will pay to fix weathertightness problems across the campus of Botany Downs Secondary College in East Tamaki, Chris Hipkins said on Tuesday. 

It will also pay for re-roofing and cladding work on buildings that contain 70 of the 84 teaching spaces at the decile nine school of over 1800 students. 

"Students learn best in in high-quality classrooms. This investment will ensure students of Botany Downs can study in warm, dry teaching spaces, as they fully deserve to," the Education Minister said. 

In May last year, construction firm H Construction North Island Limited was ordered to pay around $13 million for leaky buildings built between 2003 and 2009 that the plagued the co-educational high school for years. 

Weathertightness issues go back to the early 2000s, when the leaky building crisis emerged, hitting schools particularly hard. Former Prime Minister John Key said in 2011 that around 96 percent of school buildings modified between 1994 and 2005 reported it. 

Botany Downs Secondary College has been plagued by leaky buildings for years.
Botany Downs Secondary College has been plagued by leaky buildings for years. Photo credit: Google Maps

The Government's announcement on Tuesday was the first in a series of investments it will make this year in schools, Mr Hipkins said, speaking at the high school. 

"As well as investing in new schools for a growing student population, we know that many existing buildings not affected by weathertightness at schools around the country have been neglected or barely patched up in recent years. 

"That is not fair on the students or teachers and needs to change."    

He said temporary teaching spaces will be provided to ensure student learning is not disrupted during the project. Planning for the project is already underway, he added, and work will be staged over several years to minimise disruption. 

Further announcements will be made about investments in school property in the coming weeks, the Education Minister said. 

The Government has already announced major investments into schools. In July last year, it announced a $49 million investment in Auckland schools, including building a new primary school and expanding others.  

Earlier in the year, Mr Hipkins warned that at least $200 million worth of school buildings need to be demolished because they were not fit for purpose. 


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