Tomorrow’s Schools

I always tell people – and it bears repeating – that one of the things I love about photography is that my camera is a passport into worlds other people can’t easily see. It makes me a modern-day explorer. I may not always be the first to see a place, but I’m the first to see it my way. Last weekend I did some urbex – urban exploration.

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I’ve been doing an ongoing project for a company that occupies a quite large piece of industrial land here in Dunedin. During some down time I explored some derelict buildings that were on site. At first I wondered exactly what it was I was wandering around, but had a strong feeling it was a school, since the modernist shapes of the buildings were eerily similar to my old high school, Kingswell High in Invercargill – an S68 design by the old Ministry of Works, rooted very much in the late 60s and early 70s.

Kenmure Intermediate-13It turns out that I was right.  This was once Kenmure Intermediate. It opened in 1974, three years after Kingswell, and closed less that 25 years later – merging with Kaikorai valley High on a nearby site in 1997.  For such a contemporary set of buildings, it really is dilapidated. As I looked around, it seemed like a powerful metaphor for the shortcomings many people see in the education reforms of recent governments.  It’s a sad and depressing place, and I suppose it would appear more so if you ever spent your happy pre-teen years here. For me the odd thing is that it’s only really been empty for a couple of years. I’ve been told it’s been used by the police armed offenders squad as a training location.

I guess it’s good to be prepared for Armageddon.

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Ladies and gentlemen, I present Tomorrow’s Schools, today.

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Did you go to school at Kenmure?  Got any special memories?  Leave a comment below.

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