Work on new tech complex starts

Construction is underway on Cambridge Middle School’s $1.8 million technology block, which will allow woodwork and metalwork to be taught at the school for the first time since 2016.

Located on Clare St across the road from the main campus, the building was designed by Te Awamutu based architect Matt Whitmarsh. It will connect with existing specialist classrooms, which will be refurbished.

An artist’s impression of how the new building will look.

“We’re really happy with the design of the building,” said principal Daryl Gibbs, who was “relieved and extremely excited” to see work begin last Tuesday.

“I guess the exciting part is it is going to be quite different from any other intermediate technology teaching space that you will see in the Waikato at the moment.”

He said schools “very rarely” got the chance to build a specialist space from scratch, rather than modernising existing buildings.

“We’ve got the equivalent of two teaching spaces, but instead of having it as, say, as science class and a woodwork class, it’s been designed so that there’s a shared teaching planning area with four learning pods off it – science, biotechnology/horticulture, digital design and hard materials.”

An artist’s impression of how the new building will look.

Gibbs said the eco-friendly building itself had been designed as a learning tool, incorporating features such as open beams and heat-absorbing concrete walls in the greenhouse area.

The Ministry of Education funded just over 80 per cent of the $1.8 million project, with the school board making up the shortfall.

“I’m just really excited that our children are going to have access to the types of learning opportunities they’re entitled to and that we want to provide for them,” he said.

“It gives us huge scope to create some really innovative, hands-on programmes.”

New facilities will include a purpose-built science lab, digital design tools such as a laser cutter, 3D printers and robots and a hard materials space for working with wood, metal, electronics and plastics.

The school had not been able to offer woodwork and metalwork since 2016, when those specialist spaces were converted to regular classrooms to accommodate rapid roll growth.

Work on the new technology block is expected to be completed around the end of term three or the beginning of term four.

Daryl Gibbs

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