Groundbreaking post-earthquake Marian College opens

marian college

Bishop Michael Gielen has opened Christchurch’s new $50 million Marian College, a groundbreaking development in educational architecture.

What distinguishes the College is that it is ingeniously nestled under the expanse of an existing giant warehouse roof on Lydia Street.

“Most people are quite surprised. You can’t see much from the outside because of the warehouse structure, but once you come in, it’s remarkable. And so most people are completely blown away by it” said Marian College Principal Mary-Lou Davidson.

The project, hailed as the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere, marks a significant departure from traditional school building designs and offers a unique blend of industrial aesthetics with cutting-edge educational facilities.

Spanning 7,000 square metres, the complex boasts 26 classrooms, a full-size gymnasium and four multi-use indoor sport courts, setting a new standard for future school construction.

Board chairperson Carmel Gregan-Ford reflected on the significance of the school’s journey to its new home, acknowledging the community’s collective effort in reaching this milestone.

“Many of you here today have been part of Marian College’s journey to this point in one way or another” she told guests.

The journey to this momentous occasion shas panned over a decade, driven by the necessity to find a permanent home for the school’s 430 pupils following the devastation of its former site in Shirley by the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes.

Marian College has moved four times during the 12 years since the earthquake.

The College now looks forward to a stable and prosperous future in its innovative new home in its state-of-the-art educational facility.

The innovation sets a precedent for adaptive reuse in educational spaces across the southern hemisphere.

The Laura Fergusson Brain Injury Trust purchased the former Marian College campus in Richmond and will centralise its South Island services in a new facility there.


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