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Marian College to commence building on new site

Archbishop Paul Martin said that he was delighted to see the plans for Marian College coming to fruition which reflected the desire of the diocese to create a hub in the north of the city with two secondary schools, a primary school and the North Parish church and facilities.

Tenders will be called shortly and work is expected to start on the new Marian College campus in Christchurch in June.

The estimated $25 million development replaces the old Marian College that was irreparably damaged in the 2011 earthquakes. The school has been sited next to the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Barbadoes Street since 2012.

The college will neighbour St Joseph’s Primary School and will be on a three-hectare site bordered by Vagues Road, Main North Road and Northcote Road with the main entrance off Lydia Street. It will be close to St Bede’s College.

“While Marian College has continued to provide great Catholic education for the last 10 years in temporary facilities this new location and buildings provide a great opportunity for all these entities to work together.

The new Marian College site overview

“It is also a reminder that helping our young women grow to maturity begins with good and dedicated people first. For them to have a permanent home and state-of-the-art facilities is thoroughly deserved,” he said.

Designed by Christchurch architects Sheppard and Rout, the new school incorporates an existing warehouse which offers a unique design opportunity for the college. A large atrium, open courtyard and walkways take advantage of the warehouse area to create spaces to gather and connect with other people. A range of flexible and specialised learning spaces cater to the school’s curriculum and provide for future growth and change.

The new Marian College will include:
• Chapel
• Reception and administration area including offices and meeting spaces for the senior leadership team of the school
• Staff offices including one large staff room
• Twenty-six full sized classrooms for a range of subjects including Art, Science, Food Technology, Textiles and Physical Education. There is space to expand to 33 classrooms to cater for future growth.
• Several smaller teaching spaces are available for learning support, distance learning and careers.
• Performing arts wing including a double height black-box performance space, music and recording studios
• Library and learning centre
• Whare (planned) – a multi-purpose space for teaching, community activities and for general student use
• Full sized gymnasium including changing rooms, weights room, gallery seating and storage plus four covered courts
• Canteen

The new Marian College entrance

Principal Mary-Lou Davidson said the innovative and exciting plans for the new Marian College were ‘worth the wait’.

“This is a home for the future of the Marian College community. We are very grateful to Archbishop Paul Martin for his support and vision, and to the project team at the Catholic Diocese.

“Sheppard and Rout Architects have been amazing to work with throughout this design process. We have done extensive consultation with our students and the school community in developing these plans which are adhering to the Green Star Rating System.

“While we never expected to be at our current site for 10 years, it has been a blessing in disguise in that we’ve been able to really consider how we want to teach and learn in the future and what spaces are essential at our new school.

“This really has been a journey from our North Parade site being rendered unusable following the 2011 earthquake, then moving to St Bede’s College for a year before sharing the Catholic Cathedral College site, to now with an exciting new school on the way.

“But during this journey, we’ve always known that a school is not about the buildings, but rather it is about the people who make up our Marian College community.

“I’d like to thank our school community for your loyalty and patience during this time. The heart of the school has remained steadfast and our students have continued to thrive. We will now have an innovative new school to carry on the Marian College tradition,” she said.

Atrium View

About Marian College:
Marian College is a Catholic state integrated school for girls with a maximum roll of 430 students, that combines high academic standards and a progressive approach to modern education.
Marian College opened in 1982, with the merging of two similar Catholic secondary schools for girls. St. Mary’s College, opened by the Sisters of Mercy in Colombo Street in 1893 and McKillop College in Shirley, administered by the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.
These two schools merged into a larger secondary school on the McKillop College site in North Parade. The Catholic Bishop of Christchurch is the proprietor.
Following the February 22, 2011, earthquake, Marian College relocated as a result of significant land damage. Marian was subsequently hosted by brother school, St Bede’s College, for the rest of that year.
From 2012, Marian relocated to fully refurbished buildings alongside Catholic Cathedral College and the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament on Barbadoes Street.