The opening of ACG Tauranga’s highly anticipated College block has been a 2022 calendar highlight for staff and students alike. The new building is an enormous asset to the school, and Principal Thea Kilian couldn’t be more delighted.
“It has been a great privilege moving into our new classrooms, specialist spaces and administration area,” she says. “It is incredibly special when buildings reflect the character, values and aspirations of the people who occupy them, and this has certainly been achieved. Personally, I love the large opening windows within the classrooms, which provide a special sense of overall connectedness. And the views from the administration area, where we can watch our students play and engage in a positive and healthy manner, is daily confirmation of how much I enjoy being a part of this community.”
The contemporary block includes a reception area and meeting rooms, offices for the principal and administrative staff, a dedicated library, a specialist art room and science lab, and five new all-purpose classrooms.
Covid-related delays have provided a few challenges, but Grounds and Property Maintenance Technician Johan Prinsloo has worked tirelessly to get the project across the line – and he says the final result surpasses expectations.
“I feel so excited that the building is finally operational, and it has come together even better than I expected,” says Johan. “The new block has created a space that not only accommodates key learning areas but is also a place that senior students can make their own. I especially like the library and art and science rooms, as they were purpose-designed specifically for their subjects. Another interesting feature is our upper floor and staircase, which has been wrapped with Kaynemaile architectural mesh. No one can resist bouncing against it or running their fingers along it when they walk past!”
The building’s speciality areas are clearly the icing on the cake of this exceptional new facility. So we’ve spoken to those who are now calling these spaces ‘home’ to find out what they love most.
Science Coordinator Rob Webster – the science lab
“ACG Tauranga is promoting more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects and science offerings in school. And the addition of this new laboratory, coupled with our other two existing labs, means STEM activities can be performed more readily. Not only will it give teachers the chance to promote their own senior subjects, but it will make it easier for us to engage students in specific science-related activities.
“With three labs in total now on campus, senior classes will be able to specialise in one lab – we can now have a senior biology lab, a senior chemistry lab, and a senior physics lab. Each subject has its own unique set of equipment so that we can set up each laboratory accordingly. This new lab is purpose-designed for our senior chemistry students and has been carefully crafted to maximise working space for experimental and collaborative work. I’m thrilled with it!”
Faculty Leader for the Arts Leana Buxton – the art room
“In my opinion, the art room has got the best spot in the block. It’s on the second story with big windows along the wall and feels bespoke and well-considered. It doesn’t feel like a classroom to me! It has beautiful natural light and an excellent flow in terms of the way it functions and how the spaces interact with each other.
“Having a purpose-designed art space like this is recognition of the value the subject has within the school and the value ACG Tauranga places on the education that happens here. My personal philosophy is that a learning environment, especially in an arts subject, significantly impacts the way students engage with their learning. I believe this new art room will foster the next level of quality and enthusiasm.
“We’ve installed an amazing new printing press, and we even now have a dedicated photography area. But for me, the best part is not all the new features within the room – it’s more about the feeling that we have when working in a space like this. Traditionally an art room is a place where children find a part of themselves that they might not find in other classrooms, so it’s essential that the room fosters a feeling of security, creativity and possibility.”
Librarian Heather Grey – the library
“The library is an open, welcoming and versatile space. It has lots of cosy areas to curl up with a book and can also potentially be used for music lessons and public speaking. Among the special features are the huge ranch sliders that open the entire corner of the building. The view is rather special as well.
“I’ve enjoyed watching the excitement of students grow as they see items arrive and books start to go on the shelves. Having a dedicated school library is a real milestone. For students, it’s not just about the library itself; it’s about entering an environment where reading is valued which can empower their reading journey. The library is a gateway to knowledge and can strengthen and enhance the learning journey. Providing a range of items that interest all students will benefit all their areas of learning.”