1493357788031 - Ghost school’s empty classes to be demolished
Education

Ghost school’s empty classes to be demolished

It sat vacant for 13 years, waiting for school children to run its hallways, but it was not to be.

Hamilton’s Richmond Park School will be demolished in just two months’ time.

The empty buildings and derelict pool on the corner of Bader St and Pine Ave, will be knocked down so the site can be subdivided.

And then the land will sit; banked for future use or sold off – a process that could take several years.

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The recent rateable valuation for the school site was $2.54 million.

The Ministry of Education spent $4000 over the last nine months to replace locks and keys, updating fire alarms and repairing the school driveway.

All but the three buildings used by two kohanga reo will be removed or demolished by the end June.

The news left some locals seething and they said an empty site would be an “eyesore” for the Melville community.

All it needed was a lick of paint and it would be as good as new, Richmond Park Dairy owner Jai Naicker said.

“Both my sons went to that school and they did really well,” she said.

“It needs to be used again. If it’s not a school then put something for the community there.”

Naicker and her husband Ram have owned the dairy that sits next to the school for 17 years.

Their dairy was robbed just four months ago.

“There were community police there after the school closed and that was the best idea. We need more of a police presence here,” she said.

“There are so many young people around here and people need to start caring more about what happens in this community.

“It’s not an old building. I think if it had some fresh paint it would look like new.”

The Hamilton City Council also used the site after the school closed and following that the Richmond Centre was established to provide education on behalf of a number of other schools. 

But the process for subdividing the site had already started, the ministry’s head of infrastructure, Kim Shannon, said.

If the ministry no longer wanted the land, it would be handed over to Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), which manages this part of the process for the Crown.

Then, it would be offered to other government agencies, iwi and former owners.

“The timeframe of the disposal process can vary considerably according to the specific circumstances of each case,” Shannon said.

She said although Richmond Park may no longer be used as a school, the ministry had invested $109m in expanding and redeveloping other schools in Hamilton.

There are at present 60 schools in the city.

“The [money has paid for] major redevelopments, roll growth teaching spaces and three news schools – $32.5m of the $109m was spent in 2016, and $42m has already been spent in 2017 on the ongoing construction of Rototuna Senior High School.

Shannon said other major developments included Hamilton Girls High School, Hillcrest High School and Nga Taiatea Wharekura.

Funding for schools because of an increase in the roll included Nga Taiatea Wharekura, Hukanui School, Tai Wananga, Putete School, Te Totara Primary School and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Toku Mapihi Maurea.