The Ministry of Education has announced Future Schools Partners as the preferred bidder for a public private partnership (PPP) to build four schools.
Three of the schools will be new – Ormiston Junior College (Auckland), Aranui Community Campus and Rolleston Secondary School (both in Greater Christchurch) – and the fourth will replace Wakatipu High School in a new location. The three new schools are scheduled to open in 2017 and Wakatipu High at the beginning of 2018.
Once final negotiations with the Ministry are complete, the consortium – which includes construction company Hawkins Group, ASC Architects and facilities management company Programmed ─will design, finance and construct the schools, as well as maintaining them for 25 years. \
The PPP contract for the four schools is expected to be worth more than $200 million.
The PPP in schools initiative has attracted criticism in the past, with some organisations including the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) expressing concern that it would increase privatisation of state education. Another criticism is that the partnerships are only as efficient as the governmental negotiations preceding them, casting doubt on whether true savings are actually achieved.
However, Ministry Education Infrastructure Service head, Kim Shannon, maintains New Zealand’s first PPP schools ─ the Hobsonville Point schools ─ were delivered for a lower cost than could have been achieved using a traditional procurement method.
As with the Hobsonville Point schools, the land and buildings for the four new schools will be owned by the Ministry and all educational services will be the responsibility of school principals and boards of trustees.
Shannon says the Ministry has been working closely with the Establishment Boards of Trustees of all four schools over the last six months.
“I’m confident Future Schools Partners will also create world class modern learning environments for all four of these schools.”
See Education Review’s feature on building New Zealand’s first PPP schools here.