We are excited to announce that the new site for Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery will be 177-185 St Asaph Street. Associate Education Minister, Nikki Kaye made the announcement at the Unlimited Campus this afternoon, marking the start of our return to a permanent CBD location.
Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery has its roots firmly in the centre of Christchurch. After more than 5 and a half years of existing in temporary facilities, on temporary locations, with this announcement we finally have a place that we will be able to call home. It has been almost 3 years since we became a merged school on two sites and we can finally see a time where we are able to come together as one school, Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery.
The Board and the Ministry will now work together to ensure that our move back into the central city is managed smoothly. Our move into a brand new, purpose-built building, with spaces intentionally designed for how we deliver personalised student driven learning, will allow us to live our special character more easily and as originally intended.
This move, currently scheduled for the start of the 2019 school year, will enable us to be a school where learning is naturally and easily integrated into our entire city and beyond. We have always been a city-based school that actively uses our cities available resources to support curriculum, and to enable our students to develop their own flexible learning plans. Being back in the city will allow this vision to once again be easily realised.
We have had some challenges and setbacks and there are challenges to come. Two more years in our current temporary and ever-changing facilities will continue to add stress to our community. Being a merged school on two campuses almost 7kms apart remains a major challenge. Nevertheless, everyone in our community works incredibly hard to keep our special character alive, in spite of the difficulties. Celebrate the way we have done this under trying circumstances.
There is also the challenge of the students that started their education in the CBD, but who will not finish their education there. Most of our students now have had their entire education away from the central city and in less than desirable facilities. We hope that you’ll remember how important your contribution to Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery has been. Your commitment to our special character has been crucial, and your desire to go back to the central city has helped make this happen.
As a Board, we are relieved that this chapter of our history is finally over. It will be amazing to see Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery back where it belongs in the centre of Christchurch on such an ideal site. From this site we can easily walk to museums, galleries, parks and sports facilities as well as access other education providers every day if we wish. We will be centrally placed to network with local businesses, who can act as mentors and guides for our students in contextually relevant, real settings. And, with the bus interchange a mere block away, wider Christchurch and beyond is also more directly accessible for our students.
The site likely to be fenced off, but easy to visit. Take a bus to the exchange and then head towards the hills on Colombo Street. Cross Tuam Street (at the lights) and walk two thirds of the block to look at the empty site between Mollett Street and St Asaph Street. That’s our site. (There is retail planned for the strip down Colombo, so the school will eventually be behind those shops when viewed from Colombo.)
It is a very exciting time and we’ve just got to be patient for a bit longer. We’ve managed this long and we’ve done ourselves proud. We can manage for a little bit more. Remember, at our heart, we are more than just a building.
We will have more information to give you as the Ministry of Education and its design team begin working the Board. Our next step will be to notify you of how you can be involved in this process.
Board of Trustees – Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery
Media Release from the Associate Minister of Education
CBD site announced for new $30m Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery, Christchurch
The new site for Christchurch school Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery will be 177 St Asaph Street, Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye announced today.
“The purchase of a new site means Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery, which was formed by the merger of inner city schools Discovery One and Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti but has been operating from temporary sites outside the inner city, can now return home to the CBD,” says Ms Kaye.
Ms Kaye visited Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery’s current Ilam site this afternoon with Christchurch Central MP Nicky Wagner to announce its new home.
“The new CBD site is great news, because the school’s approach to learning involves taking advantage of ready access to the amenities and experiences that an inner city location offers.”
Ms Kaye acknowledges that it has taken some time to find the right site for the new campus.
“I’d like to thank the school’s Director and Board for their patience and cooperation during this time.
“The Ministry of Education has worked closely with the school to identify a site that best meets its needs now and into the future.
“Now that the site has been secured, we can progress to the next stage and get design work for the new facilities underway.
“This is a huge, $30 million investment that will result in an amazing physical environment, which reflects Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery’s unique approach to learning as a special character school.
“The school’s vision is based on students directing their own learning, as well as family-like relationships between the school, parents, whanau and members of the wider community, who are heavily involved in school life and delivering the curriculum.
“I know the Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery community will be thrilled with today’s news, which is a big step towards bringing their special vision to life in their new home.
“Today is a big day for education in Christchurch and the revitalisation of the city’s CBD.
“The $30 million investment in Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery will be in addition to more than $276 million announced for Canterbury school infrastructure as part of this year’s Budget.
“We’re committed to building new schools and classrooms to meet growth in Canterbury, as well as ensuring that the 10-year Christchurch schools rebuild programme, aimed at rebuilding and renewing 115 schools, is on-track.
“Budget 2016 set aside $882.5 million for school infrastructure nationwide. In total, this Government has committed around $5 billion to school property, significantly more than any previous government.”
Building work on the new Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery school is planned to start in 2017, with the new facilities expected to be in use by early 2019.
As with any new school or major school redevelopment, the focus will be on creating an innovative learning environment, with flexible learning spaces that support different approaches to teaching and learning.