A NEW secondary school is being considered and Ballarat High will complete a major redevelopment as the state government looks to the population boom in Ballarat’s western suburbs.
In Ballarat on Monday, Education Minister Martin Dixon announced a $7.8 million boost to Ballarat High School in the state budget and another $10 million if the Coalition wins the state election in November.
He said the $7.8 million came with no strings attached and would be available from July.
Principal Gary Palmer said it was “a fantastic opportunity” for the school as its enrolments grew through neighbouring suburbs of Lucas and Alfredton.
He said the funding would allow Ballarat High to take what it already had and “make it ready for the 21st century”.
“It allows us to forward think about what we want our school to be,” he said.
“We are a neighbourhood school and Lucas is part of our neighbourhood ... we have the capacity as a school to look to the future to cover our neighbourhood.”
Ballarat’s western growth area will provide more than 14,000 new houses to accommodate a population of more than 40,000 people over the next 30 to 40 years.
Mr Palmer said while the school had the capacity to absorb Lucas, the need for an additional secondary school somewhere between Ballarat High and Phoenix P-12 Community College had also been identified.
“The (education) department are looking at the planning and it’s still being finalised,” he said.
Mr Dixon said the funding was an investment into the future of Ballarat High School, which had educated generations of students.
“We’ve looked at a number of issues ... it’s not only the physical need of the school, but also funding history, how much funding the school has received in the past and also the sustainable student numbers,” Mr Dixon said.
“The school has ticked all those three boxes so that’s why it’s come up trumps with this announcement today.
“This funding can be used to redevelop and modernise school facilities and will ensure students have access to a high quality learning environment.”
Although a new primary school has been earmarked for Lucas, Mr Dixon would not confirm if the site would also figure in Tuesday’s budget announcements.
“There will be further funding announcements tomorrow so I’m not pre announcing anything on top of that,” he told The Courier on Monday.