Wanaka’s current primary school opened in September 2010 and was purpose-built with its picturesque view of Mt Aspiring National Park and opened after the previous location had been deemed unsuitable for the growth expected in the area. The then new school’s landscaping design - undertaken by Opus’ Christchurch based Landscape Architect team - featured Firth’s Holland paver for all outdoor areas … and after eight years, and thousands of pairs of small feet, they still look great.
“The original location of Wanaka Primary had included concrete pavers so when the design was being finalised the school had requested a concrete paver be used in the design due to their performance and durability,” says Wayne Rimmer, Principal Landscape Architect for Opus. “The Ministry of Education agreed that a concrete paver could be part of the materials palette as long as the project didn't exceed budget, hence the inclusion of Firth’s Holland paver.”
When asked if it’s common practice to use a concrete paver in a school design Wayne explains that Wanaka Primary school had been the first design build project in the South Island so came with some advantages as the total build budget allowed for some flexibility within the material choices. “Asphalt and or concrete tend to be standard but the school wanted concrete pavers and the budget allowed for it,” adds Wayne. With pavers potentially having less ponding and drainage problems it meant there was less risk of ice forming, creating health and safety hazards – a definite advantage for the school.
“Asphalt may have been cheaper to lay in this situation but using Firth’s Holland pavers provided more efficient, simpler, cheaper repair and replacement opportunities,” adds Wayne.
After eight years of - at times - extreme temperatures and lots of foot traffic, the pavers still look like new. “Aesthetics are important but were only part of the decision making as other factors such as performance, light reflectivity, functionality, fit for purpose, the history of the previous school, budget, life span, maintenance and our client’s requirements all played a part in the specification of Firth’s Holland pavers.”