Innovative plans map future for Marian College

An artist’s impression of the future Marian College site, as depicted in a college newsletter

Plans for an estimated $25million development on Lydia Street, Papanui, Christchurch, that will become the new “home” of Marian College were revealed last month.

The new school, designed by Christchurch architects Sheppard and Rout, will be built within the warehouse that currently exists onsite, and will open in 2023. The former North Parade site of the school was irreparably damaged in the 2011 earthquake.

According to a statement on the school’s website, Archbishop Paul Martin, SM, Christchurch diocese apostolic administrator, said that he was delighted to see the plans for Marian College coming to fruition. The new site 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.

“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, Archbishop Martin said.

“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.

Marian College principal Mary-Lou Davidson said the innovative and exciting plans for the new Marian College were “worth the wait”.

“In moving to Papanui, we join our brother school St Bede’s College, and St Joseph’s Primary, and the Christchurch North Parish to become a Catholic hub, and we look forward to working together in the coming years.

“While we never expected to be at our current site for ten 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.”

The college will be a neighbour to 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.

Extensive consultation with current and future students, staff and the wider school community was undertaken, with elements from those discussions utilised in the design.

Mrs Davidson said the new school was a “home for the future of the Marian College community”.

“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 current site with Catholic Cathedral College, 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,” she said.

“We are very grateful to Archbishop Paul Martin for his support and vision, and to the project team at the Catholic diocese.

“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 and unique new school to carry on our Marian College tradition.”

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NZ Catholic Staff

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