Oxford Area School – Takurua

With an operational observatory on site, Oxford Area School has its sights on the stars, but when it comes to the delivery of education, the school is firmly grounded in having the best facilities possible for its 500-plus learners.

Oxford Area School’s buildings had an average age of 50-60 years, and not all were weathertight or suitable for modern learning. In 2017 the first stage of a sitewide redevelopment programme began with the initial construction of a block of 10 teaching spaces. In 2020, the Ministry of Education confirmed a further stage of site redevelopment.

Following a competitive tender process, RDT Pacific was engaged by the Ministry of Education to carry out Project Management and Cost Management commissions.

At the outset of the project, during the revalidation of the master plan, it was clear the allocated funding could not cover the extent of building upgrades required. The budget was challenged by an ageing business plan and cost fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Utilising combined project and cost management expertise, the RDT Pacific team worked with the design team, the Ministry and the school on a cost-effective solution to:

  • stage redevelopment for the site, prioritising the most critical works
  • reduce expenditure on decanting buildings
  • ensure the ongoing live operation of the school with no limits or extra costs involved.


To ensure temporary buildings were not needed, minor works to existing buildings were required, along with an agreement with the school to adapt to smaller facilities while construction took place.

The result of this big picture thinking is a high quality, multi-functional admin, library, staff and student resource and teaching space building, delivered on schedule and within the Ministry’s revised budget.

The RDT team also credits good collaborative working relationships and a culture of discussing issues as they arose as vital to the success of this project.

Oxford Area School is justifiably proud of their new building. Takurua the te reo Māori name for Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky is aptly named. The sitewide development connects the school to its site and the observatory with improved wayfinding and design reflecting purapura whetū or stardust.

RDT Pacific were engaged due to their extensive experience in the Aotearoa New Zealand education sector.

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