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School closer to return to Christchurch CBD

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Shopprice New Zealand

A Christchurch school with an ethos built around urban learning has narrowed its hunt for a new central city location.

Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery school, which was formed by the merger of primary school Discovery One and secondary school Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti, is operating from two sites. One operates from Halswell and the other on the University of Canterbury campus.

Its hunt has narrowed to three undisclosed sites.

Board chairwoman Belinda Nicholls said the school was excited about its return to central Christchurch so it was no longer in limbo between two sites.

“We’re definitely very excited about getting back in to the city centre. It’s been a long time coming.

“We are working hard to make it one school but it is so hard when we’re so far apart from one another.”

Education Ministry head of education infrastructure Kim Shannon said it had been working closely with potential developers to find a suitable site for the school.

She would not disclose locations while negotiations were ongoing.

“We have been seeking a commercial lease arrangement so that Ao Tawhiti can be located in central Christchurch, and relatively close to the main bus interchange,” Shannon said.

“Because this particular area lacks existing school facilities, we have looked at office accommodation which could be fitted out to provide good learning spaces for students.”

The build required for the school would take between 12 and 18 months and it was expected to re-open in early 2017, she said.

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