The new Technology Centre and Student Research Centre/Administration buildings formed stage one of the Tereora College Redevelopment Project (TCRP).
The buildings are the fulfilment of discussions in 2013 between the Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC) and the education ministry regarding plans to reconstruct Tereora College. In 2015, the project’s four stages and design concepts were approved by cabinet as part of the national infrastructure plan with reconstruction of Tereora College prioritised as number 10 on the list of the nation’s 23 project priorities.
Stage one was the construction of a Technology Centre and Student Research Centre/Administration buildings. Stage two will involve a rebuild of all of the college’s classrooms, while stage three will focus on development of a performing arts centre. Stage four will investigate providing accommodation for students from the outer islands and overseas who are finding it increasingly difficult to find somewhere appropriate to live while they attend the National college.
On August 4, 2015, during the Cook Islands celebration of 50 years of independence, former New Zealand prime minister John Key pledged up to $11.7 million to complete stage one of the project.
The Cook Islands government contributed an additional $3 million to get the buildings they wanted. New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern will travel to Rarotonga for the second official opening of the buildings on March 7.
Finance minister Mark Brown said he was proud that the design and concept of the building had been done by a local Cook Islands team.
“Within the special units project of CIIC, most of these people themselves are former Tereora College students,” he said.
Brown added that he was also very happy that the international tender for the construction of the project had been won by local building company, Landholdings Ltd.
“These two factors on their own demonstrate that we alone as a people and a country are more than capable of planning, designing, constructing, and overseeing large scale projects that are usually given to overseas companies.
“We hope to continue this trend for future projects,” he said.
College principal Tania Morgan said she was very happy to see the completion of stage one of the school’s redevelopment project. “As educators, we know that a building alone cannot infuse the vision and passion that guide our development.
“It is our spirit and the strong relationships between our parents, who are our ama (elders), the teachers who are our tu oe (navigators), and the students who are our kiato (explorers), which makes the difference and will ensure the new facility supports our development,” she said.
The completed redevelopment of the college will enable greater learning opportunities for Cook Islanders and set the benchmark for further secondary school developments in the country.
The cost of the redevelopment is currently estimated at $40 million.