Rawhiti School was formed from the merger of Central New Brighton, North New Brighton and Freeville Schools. The school operated for its first year in the existing buildings on the Freeville and Central sites, while the new facilities were being built on Leaver Terrace (the old North New Brighton site). The new site was opened in time of the 2016 school year.
The $13.6 million school, accommodating up to 600 pupils, is a welcome addition to the Christchurch schooling network, which is emerging as one of the most modern schooling networks in the country.
As one of the hardest hit areas in the Christchurch earthquake, the brief was to design a single storey, state of the art, flexible learning facility, with safety being paramount. Facilities include 26 classroom spaces, library facilities, a multi-purpose area, administration area and resource areas. An open and welcoming community feeling is integral to the design.
The design is unique in many ways. To avoid areas of unstable ground the building had to be set well back from the road and stretches across the entire width of the large site. The long form helps create protection from the prevailing winds and the land between the building and the street was transformed into an expansive wonderland of outdoor learning facilities. As well as new playgrounds and shade sails there is an artificial playing turf, a sand pit, an amphitheatre and a scooter track.
The natural subdued colours of the low lying building from one end to the other represent the transition from ocean to land. The idea of Rawhiti (rising above) was expressed in the central sunrise pattern on the face of the hall to create a sense of presence and local identity from the road.
The school has been designed and built to 5 Star Greenstar standards.