Old cottage made new
Generosity and community spirit were the foundations of a big project to upgrade one of the farm cottages last summer. Last year the school received a $50,000 donation to help create more space for the growing student roll. Several options were considered before it was decided to renovate a farm cottage so it could be used as a classroom. The cottage had good bones, but the old asbestos cladding had to go, some of the door and window joinery was in poor condition, and insulation was needed. Like any renovation, the job grew as wall linings and floor coverings came off and revealed DIY problems long hidden.
The project also started with a budget blowout to have the asbestos material professionally removed and ensure student safety. As a result, the planned verandah was not built and we didn’t get a covered outdoor teaching space. We did replace all the cladding, replaced all joinery with double glazing, relined the ceiling, insulated walls and ceiling, fixed some electrical and plumbing problems, painted inside and out and inserted a support beam that was missing. The cottage has new floor coverings and curtains. It is now warm and watertight, and will serve us well for many, many years.
Mike Soeters and his son Gene were our builders. Gene is a Steiner School graduate and donated many hours of his time as a thank you for the wonderful education he received at Raphael House, Wellington. Class 7 students and parents were asked to help, and their hard work enabled us to stretch the budget further. Paint and other building materials were donated by parents and supporters.
Several volunteers, who are not school parents need a special thank you. Cornelius is a Steiner teacher in Germany who came to New Zealand for a month and spent most of that time helping with the cottage and other school projects. Ben is a multi-talented local who simply wanted to help a good cause, and he spent many days helping the builders. David has donated his time and skills to the school as a practical DIY-er many times, and he took on most of the finishing jobs at the end. Bruce once again was generous in providing his technical skills.
Thank you Cornelius, Ben, Bruce and David. Thank you to all the Class 7 students and parents, and to our builders. Thank you to the very kind person who donated $50,000 and made all this possible for Class 7 to be our first class on the farm.