New Zealand / Education

Leaky Taihape school's land not sliding away - engineers

10:51 am on 17 April 2021

Engineers have found the land under Taihape's area school is stable enough to build another school on - more than a decade after chronic watertightness and infrastructure issues were exposed in the school's new buildings.

Taihape Area School is getting a rebuild. a decade after flaws were exposed. Photo: Google Maps

The existing school site opened in late 2009, but has to be rebuilt because it is so leaky.

A geotechnical report released to RNZ under the Official Information Act identifies unstable land outside the school boundary, but not on the site itself.

"It was noted prior to the site visit that there was some concern over the global stability of the site," the report done in August 2020 said.

"To the east of the school site (beyond the school boundary) there is clear evidence of slope instability. This is associated with the steep slope down to the river.

"Within the site boundary, the only noted site movement is located adjacent to the Taihape Swim Centre."

Some locals had pushed for the school to be shifted to the site of the old Taihape College, which closed in 2005.

At the Taihape Area School, the engineers found numerous small to modest-sized cracks in the existing foundations. It was hard to pinpoint a cause, but it was probably due to poor build quality, not the ground moving, the report said.

"From a geotechnical perspective, the site is considered suitable for use as a school."

The Education Ministry spent years aiming to repair the school before recently swinging behind a full rebuild of most of it.