Mount Rowan and Woodmans Hill Secondary Colleges to stand alone as Ballarat Secondary College name disappears

LEADERS: Ballarat Secondary College principal Rick Gervasoni and Mount Rowan campus head Seona Murnane. Picture: Michelle Smith

LEADERS: Ballarat Secondary College principal Rick Gervasoni and Mount Rowan campus head Seona Murnane. Picture: Michelle Smith

The Ballarat Secondary College name will disappear as its two campuses become separate schools.

Education minister James Merlino announced that Mount Rowan Secondary College and Woodmans Hill Secondary College would become stand-alone schools from the start of the next school year.

Ballarat Secondary College principal Rick Gervasoni said the two school communities had been working toward the separation for several years and little in the day-to-day running of the campuses would change.

“The vision for the school when I came was to end up at this place and the fact we have been able to do that in three years is testament to the whole school community being strong enough to say this is what we want,” Mr Gervasoni said.

PLANS: Mount Rowan campus head Seona Murnane inspects redevelopment plans for the school with education minister James Merlino and Wendouree MP Sharon Knight. Picture: Michelle Smith

PLANS: Mount Rowan campus head Seona Murnane inspects redevelopment plans for the school with education minister James Merlino and Wendouree MP Sharon Knight. Picture: Michelle Smith

The schools began to forge separate identities at the start of the 2017 school year when the college’s Wendouree campus was renamed Mount Rowan, and the east campus became Woodmans Hill, and each adopted new and different school uniforms.

“The separate schools will give ownership and identity to students and the local community,” Mr Gervasoni said.

Mr Merlino was also at Mount Rowan to mark the start of a $12 million construction project to build new classrooms, a new arts/crafts space, canteen, student lounge and performing arts auditorium. A $6 million school upgrade at Woodmans Hill will start later this year.

“We know leadership and quality of teaching make the biggest difference to students but investing in modern teaching and learning facilities sends a message to students we value you, and to the community that we value education,” Mr Merlino said.

“We are sending a really strong message to people in this community that we value education: it’s through education we break out of the cycle of disadvantage and through education we can achieve our personal dreams and aspirations.”

SOD TURNING: Education minister James Merlino turns the first sod of construction at the Mount Rowan campus with Ballarat Secondary College principal Rick Gervasoni, Wendouree MP Sharon Knight and year eight students. Picture: Michelle Smith

SOD TURNING: Education minister James Merlino turns the first sod of construction at the Mount Rowan campus with Ballarat Secondary College principal Rick Gervasoni, Wendouree MP Sharon Knight and year eight students. Picture: Michelle Smith

Mount Rowan campus head Seona Murnane said the new start marked an exciting future for the campus.

“We can officially say now that we are Mount Rowan Secondary College,” said campus head Seona Murnane.

“We have done a lot of rebranding and people think we have already made the split, but now it’s all official we can concentrate on this part of Ballarat. We are hoping that the community will be happy to be coming here in the future and we want to welcome them,” she said.

Mr Gervasoni hoped the school’s new facilities and identities would make their mark in the local communities.

“They are going to be a community hub, and with the auditoriums we want our community to come and use the school and see how good a place this is for our community and kids to learn in.”