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Christchurch parents accuse Education Ministry of sitting by as vandals trashed school hall

A group of Christchurch parents is accusing the Ministry of Education of sitting by as vandals trashed a school hall.

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The building was the only part of the old Shirley Boys’ High Campus not damaged in the earthquakes. Source: 1 NEWS

The building - the only part of the old Shirley Boys' High School campus not damaged in the earthquakes - had been promised to the community for another school to use.

The gym has since seen its windows smashed and covered in graffiti.

Banks Avenue school board chairman Kirk McKay said it had been “fully usable” at the date the school had been assigned to take over the building.

“It's effectively vandalised to the point of, as the Ministry terms it, uneconomic to repair,” McKay said.

Most of the site had been demolished after the quake, making way for the new Banks Avenue School.

The Education Ministry had promised to refurbish the gym as part of the new development. However, when the handover was delayed, the building sat empty and vandals moved in.

Education Ministry head of capital works, Sam Fowler, said the ministry is “absolutely committed to honouring the agreement we made with the school but we need to work with them as to whether that's now the right investment”.

The parents claim the Ministry is putting a fix out of reach, quoting s $3 million bill for repairs.

Officials, who contend they took steps to prevent vandalism, said they are looking to the long-term.

“It may be better now that we invest in their new facilities rather than in that gymnasium, but as I say, we stand by the commitment we made,” Fowler said.

However, McKay said it’s the children who are most affected.

“It's just the children - the children are the ones who are missing out. They have no facilities to play basketball,” he said.