Blomfield Satellite 



Blomfield Special School and Resource Centre in Whangarei provides education for students aged five to 21 years who have special learning needs.


The base school operates three classrooms with an adjacent transition unit for older students. Seven satellite classes operate at four host schools in Whangarei and Kaitaia.


The school vision of ‘Discovering our Potential’ underpins a culture of high expectations, inclusion, extensive pastoral care and respectful relationships between the board, staff, students and families.


Earl collaborative engagement

The decision to build a satellite school on the fifth host
school site has allowed the project team to work closely
alongside senior leaders, MOE representatives, teachers,
therapists and other key stakeholders from both the base
school and Oromahoe host school.


Initial discussions and concept design were managed
through onsite meetings at both schools. The benefits of
including a wide range of key stakeholders in the early
Schedule of Accommodation allowed the team to compile a Design Brief that incorporates both the specific essential infrastructure and Innovative Learning Environment needs for a special school.


The building design has been approved at multiple levels as wholly functional, future proofed and fit for purpose with the ability to bridge the universal MOE guidelines around design and the additional features that need to be included for specialist schools.

The project includes:

• Strategic planning
• Concept design
• Change management
• Client liaison - we tendered out the concept
design to architectural companies
• Project management through to commissioning
of building.

Challenges met and value/benefits provided:


A satellite school on a host site requires inclusivity within a secure environment. The fence layout was carefully considered to allow security/privacy and connection. Vision holes in the fence and gate positions allow connectivity and opening of the spaces if required.

The base school is at full capacity and the satellite school is a priority project. A project timeline was issued prior to the initial PCG. The group was asked to comment and commit to the timeline and turnaround times and response strategies were included in the PCG’s Terms of Reference. All consultants were advised of the timeline at engagement. The timeline is updated weekly and issued/reviewed at monthly PCGs.

Operational site

Building on a site that currently houses essential infrastructure required to keep the host school operational. The satellite school site housed the schoolhouse and the potable water tanks used to feed the school’s water supply. The project has been staged to include stage 1 enabling works and stage 2 satellite construction. The enabling works were initiated immediately to allow for the site to be cleared during the construction design process.


This brief has produced a set of working drawings that were critiqued at every design stage by the PCG and key
stakeholders from the MOE and relevant design panels. A strong project manager/designer relationship was built
using a communication strategy that invited constructive review and robust discussion around the building being fit
for purpose, timeline and budget versus aesthetic, buildability and future proofing.