New farm-based school gets consents
The Motueka Rudolf Steiner School community are celebrating a milestone for their project to build a new farm-based school. The necessary resource consents were granted by the Tasman District Council in June 2017. Securing an ideal site and getting the necessary consents were seen as the biggest hurdles for the project. “Without the farm and the consents we only had a vision, now we have an achievable project.” said development manager Peter Garlick.
It took about one year to prepare the resource consent application and another year being processed by council. The school community and managers needed to make many decisions about the design, layout and infrastructure required. Consultants were engaged to help with site planning, building design, civil engineering, geotechnical engineering, waste water design, traffic management, cultural impact assessment, land use issues, heritage issues and planning law. Consultants were very generous in offering discounted fees for a social enterprise, and consultant and council fees came to about $60,000.
The cost of the land, resource consents and staff time total about $800,000. These funds have come from generous supporters and other fundraising. A group of parents and supporters have formed to drive the project. They are called Friends of Farm School. “People who have given time and money to the project so far have been very bold and visionary. They believed in the project and believed we would get the land and consents. We are so grateful to have this support.” says Mr Garlick.
The consents provide for a primary school with 100 students, a kindergarten with 40 students, plus a playgroup building. The new school is part of a bigger project that will see 6 ha of farmland developed for community supported agriculture, the development of an outdoor classroom curriculum for students, and upgrades to farm cottages and utility buildings. The first farm cottage had a major renovation last summer.
The next step is to engage architects and engineers to do detailed design work on the buildings and infrastructure. The designs will reflect the values inherent in Waldorf education and biodynamic farming. These designs will also need council approval and building consents. The first physical works will be installing underground services, roading and car parking. “We will need power and an all weather road to the building site before construction starts.” says Mr Garlick.
Funds are still needed before this next stage can start and the Friends of Farm School are seeking more people to join them and contribute time, skills and money. The school believes it will now be easier to attract funding with consents granted. “We have the school, we have the students, we have the land, we have a great team and now we have the resource consents.” says Mr Garlick.