Staff and students at Rewa Rewa School in Newlands are hoping that Wellington City Council will come to the rescue of their beleaguered pool.
Principal Mary O’ Regan says the pool costs thousands of dollars a year to keep running. But it is an uphill struggle for the school to find that money. She says students value their pool even though it is unheated and uncovered. “We can only use it in the first six to eight weeks of the school year. The rest of the time it just sits there.”
However, Ms O’ Regan says the pool is a good learners’ pool. Having a pool on site is more convenient, than sending children to the council-owned Keith Spry Pool or pools at neighbouring schools. “Going out adds to costs and causes a loss of learning time. Then you’ve got to add the cost of buses."
She says the school is contracting an engineer to do full analysis of the pool. Once that is done Ms O’ Regan says the board will have a better idea of the cost of upgrading.
However, the Ministry of Education has already said it is unwilling to help. “The ministry has offered to take the pool out. They got funding to remove it but not to upgrade it.” She says the ministry provides just $381 a year to keep the pool operating – only a fraction of the true cost.
Just recently the pool at Khandallah School reopened after being under threat of closure after receiving a $420,000 grant from Wellington City Council’s School Pools Partnership Fund.
The grant enabled the building housing the pool to be replaced, a ventilation system and larger changing rooms to be built and access improved.
To receive a grant from the fund, schools must show they will provide a service to other nearby schools, water-sports and surf lifesaving groups, as well as the local community.
Ms O’ Regan says Rewa Rewa is keen to get funding from the council’s fund. The school has contacted a learn-to swim school which is keen to use the pool once it’s upgraded. She says a grant application is being prepared and will be lodged by the October deadline.