The 150 youngest members of the St Andrew’s College family, aged 2–7 years old from the Pre-school and Junior School, joined 150 guests for the formal proceedings, as their bright, shiny new facilities were opened. The Stewart Junior Centre incorporates seven new Junior classrooms and a Discovery Room, along with an adjacent, but separate Pre-school, both of which were designed by Wilkie and Bruce Architects and built by Armitage Williams Construction. Impressive, colourful outdoor play areas, designed by Jasmax, are an exciting feature of the Centre.
The Stewart family, who made a significant donation towards the wonderful facilities, and other guests, enjoyed morning tea in the new Junior School, before the formal celebrations began. They were welcomed by the Preparatory School Kapa Haka Group, with entertainment provided during the celebration by the Secondary School Jazz Band and Preparatory School Pipe Band. In her address, Rector Christine Leighton, said the opening of the Stewart Junior Centre was the completion of the rebuild of the Preparatory School, which began with the opening of the new Library in 2004. “A new Preparatory School was the vision of Principal, Jonathan Bierwirth, who has worked tirelessly over 14 years to make it a reality.” She thanked him for his ‘enthusiasm and relentless drive’ to make St Andrew’s Preparatory School a benchmark of design excellence.
Board Chair, Bryan Pearson, spoke about the Stewart family’s special relationship with St Andrew’s, with his address followed by a blessing and prayer of gratitude by Chaplain Paul Morrow and Matua Steve Reid.
Mark Stewart (OC 1980) spoke on behalf of his family, and said they were proud of their long association with the College, and the support of various building projects. His brother Todd (OC 1992) and other family members were also in attendance.
Preparatory School Principal, Jonathan Bierwirth said the development epitomises the value the College places on the early years of learning. “Research and evidence suggests they are probably the most crucial years in forming the character of our children. Of course, this is not just their ability to achieve, but also the development of character, resilience, empathy, and a positive mindset. The Stewart Junior Centre provides a wonderful environment for this to happen.”
Dame Adrienne Stewart officially opened the Centre by unveiling a plaque. Sophie Schouten (Year 3) and Jacob Wang (Year 1) cut the beautiful cake to complete the ceremony. There were more smiles when the Junior and Pre-school children enthusiastically took part in a mass bubble blowing activity as guests toured the buildings and grounds.