Associate minister of education Nikki Kaye was at Whangarei Girls' High School on March 9 to turn the first sod of the project.
"It's tough when you've been dealing with derelict buildings for a long period of time, and dealing with cramped spaces," Kaye told students in the school's whare, where she was welcomed.
Three of the classrooms in Whangarei Girls' High school's new $6.8 million block are to replace ageing classrooms, while seven are to accommodate the growing school roll.
Information from the Ministry of Education says the roll has grown steadily from March 2010 when it had 1108 students, to March 2016 when it had a roll of 1349 students.
The redeveloped school will have the capacity to manage a roll of 1440.
Kaye stressed to the students that education will give them plenty of options in the future.
"For me, I just want you guys to know that you can do anything. If you work hard and you listen to your teachers, and you just do that extra bit then education is your passport."
The new block will be on the corner of Manse St and Lupton Ave and is expected to be completed for February 2018.
DANICA MACLEAN/FAIRFAX NZ