Siena Catholic Primary School prepares to open second building

Stage two of Siena Catholic Primary School will be opened before the end of the year as the school in Ballarat’s growing west grapples with unexpected demand.   

Growing: Siena Catholic Primary School principal Jo Brewer at the second stage of the development, expected to be opened this year.  Picture: Lachlan Bence.

Growing: Siena Catholic Primary School principal Jo Brewer at the second stage of the development, expected to be opened this year. Picture: Lachlan Bence.

The Lucas school opened its gates at the beginning of 2017 with 70 students from prep to grade six, 20 more than initially expected.  

Like the school’s first building, the second phase was constructed in Swan Hill by Swanbuild before being shipped to Ballarat in 18 separate pieces.   

When completed the new building will boast six classrooms as well as a dedicated art space.

Siena principal Jo Brewer said while the school’s master plan had anticipated the addition of a new building in 2014, it was altered from four to six classrooms to cope with demand.  

An artist's impression of the completed school

An artist's impression of the completed school

The school has already taken enrollment for 35 preps for the 2018 school year and expects to house between 110 and 140 students.   

“They thought we’d be lucky to get 50 kids (in 2017) and we got 70, they thought we’d struggle to get older kids but we’ve actually got more older kids than younger ones,” Ms Brewer said.  

“We did (have a waiting list) for the senior class this year because we just couldn’t take any more and the meeting room turned into a mini classroom.”  

Over the next five years the school will build either two or three additional buildings depending on demand.  All up the facility has the potential to accommodate as many as 550 students. 

The school’s rapid growth comes as the state government prepares to purchase the neighbouring four-hectare block for the construction of a public primary school.  

An unidentified amount of funding was allocated for the land in the 2017/18 state budget and earthworks began on the site in mid-July to facilitate the purchase.

However the government is yet to announce a timeline for the school’s construction or when it will allocate funding for the construction.