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Ilam School


Ilam School has taken advantage of their fun and vibrant culture to collaborate with CREO and create an outdoor area that lifts the space and delights the students. 

Ilam School
Ilam, Christchurch
Circa Budget:

Ilam School is located in the suburb of Ilam sitting near the University of Canterbury. 

The school roll is made up of approximately 450 students, ranging from  Years 1 to 6, and is recognised as one of New Zealand’s most culturally diverse primary schools, with students from over 70 different ethnicities.

This gives the school a culturally rich environment, encouraging staff to cater for all language and learning needs. 

Principal Paul Dolan explained that the school began looking into updating their junior playground after funding was made available to them for such projects through the government’s school investment package program.

Ilam School previously had a 1970’s playground with a traditional jungle gym and bark surfacing. It did the job, but it was dated and looked a little tired.

The school saw it as an opportunity to invest in their junior students, by creating a fun and colourful play area where the students could be creative, imaginative, and “have a whole lot of fun”. 

When looking into options for creating their playground, the school approached a number of businesses including CREO.

 They identified that the Design + Build concept approach was easy and seamless, with one communication channel, allowing for easy back and forth between the school and the CREO design and build team.

Paul was thrilled with Creo’s communication and willingness to work with the school.

Having no concept of cost or what they wanted in their playground, Ilam School enjoyed the collaborative relationship with CREO.

They were able to knuckle down on a good concept with the help of skilled playground designers who could help in identifying what might suit the area best, while also making the most out of the budget. 

CREO worked on the construction during the school term, but the team understood the school environment and worked in a way that was considerate of the day to day process of a school. Paul describes it as one of the moments he knew they had made the right decision for them. 

“The team worked around us… were specific about wanting classrooms to function normally without a whole lot of noise. Talking to the children and stopping their work. Inviting classes in to have a look through the area when it was in the build process. All the health and safety that goes with that. They were so accommodating, it was wonderful.” 

The junior playground incorporates bright blues, yellows, and reds using Numat surfacing and accessories.

The new play space lifts the area and adds bright colours to the fun space. Paul has seen parents come and interact a lot more frequently as the children hang around the playground after school.

The older students have also been enjoying the space. A good sign of its success at catering for a wide age range. It’s become a popular location for everyone, especially during the winter months. 

Ilam School has fully embraced all the advantages and possibilities of working with CREO. This new space paves the way for some more creative projects as the school looks at their re-development plan post-earthquake. 

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