Project Description

Westmount School, Palmerston North

Turfrey Plumbing & Roofing carrying out the internal and external plumbing, drainage, gasfitting and roofing works to this new project with Homestead Construction and Unispace.

A new $10 million-plus school being built in Summerhill, on the outskirts of Palmerston North, could open by term two.

Staff hope Westmount School’s Manawatū campus can shift from its Roberts Line campus to the new buildings in Johnstone Drive in term two, school board trustee Matt Gowdie said.

It is part of a chain of private schools founded by Exclusive Brethrens, but described as secular.

The first stage, the main teaching block, “is approaching finish in the next few months”. “It’s very much open plan and a highly IT, cutting-edge facility. It’s a modern-learning environment for self-directed learners”, he said.

“We do [modern learning-stye education] in a small way now, with a learning centre which most of our senior students transition through during the day, but it’s not adequate for our learners for today.”

Sports fields will be the next to open during term two, if winter weather allows. The last stage is a gym block that will probably open about three months after the first block, he said.

As well as the gym, it will include an exercise and weights room, music and performance rooms, and a kitchen.

“The neighbourhood are very interested and supportive, and other educational facilities around are watching us with interest,” Gowdie said.

Westmount is a chain of private schools that began with a group of parents from the Plymouth Brethren Church setting up classes for their children. The Plymouth Brethren are usually known as Exclusive or Closed Brethren.

The school is “progressive” educationally and “conservative” in its Christian values and beliefs, but is secular with “no formal religious observations or services held at the school”, its website says.

“The conducting of current affairs and Bible studies programmes remain the responsibility of the community.”

There are now 11 Westmount campuses at 16 sites from Kaipara to Invercargill, and New Zealand-based Westmount teachers also teach online in three school campuses in Argentina.

In recent years, pupils travelling to the Manawatū campus have come from Palmerston North, Ashhurst, Feilding, Levin, Pahiatua and Masterton.

The Manawatū campus has about 150 pupils, from years 3 to 13, and teaches from the New Zealand curriculum, Gowdie said.