The big squeeze at Miners Rest Primary School will ease if the Andrews Labor government is re-elected in November, with an election promise to build a new $17.1 million school for the growing community.
The location of the new school is yet to be finalised but facilities will include new classrooms, administration block and a competition-grade gymnasium and oval available to the community and sporting groups after school hours.
Education minister James Merlino led a school assembly on Wednesday to announce funding for a brand new school, which was greeted with cheers from students.
See how Miners Rest has grown in 15 years.
The school’s enrolment has trebled over the past six years to about 350 pupils on the 1.5 hectare site, where schools of comparable size are on 3.5 to five hectares.
“I want to make sure we deliver for Miners Rest Primary School the very best facility to match the awesome teaching and learning that happens here,” Mr Merlino told the students.
The investment pledge comes on top of $4.5 million budgeted in May to master plan and buy land for the new school, taking the total budget to $21.6 million.
The Victorian School Building Authority and the school community are investigating several options including buying land adjacent to the current school or a new site.
“Today I announce a re-elected Andrews Labor government will provide $17.1 million and that will completely rebuild the school and, importantly for the community, a competition grade gym and oval that the community can use as well as local sporting and community clubs,” Mr Merlino said.
“We are already working on it right now. Finalising the land is the first step, the architects will be appointed, a builder appointed and it takes 12 to 18 months to construct the school.”
School principal Dale Power said the joy on the students’ faces when the new school was announced reflected how everyone felt about the development.
“It’s very pleasing after many years of hard work,” he said.
“The current school was built in the 1860s, on a small parcel of land. Increasing the school’s size will provide the much-needed space for the students that they require to interact effectively and have their own play space.
“The small size is troublesome from the point of view that it inhibits their ability to grow and learn as they may otherwise do in a larger space. Appropriate facilities will provide a great opportunity for developmental growth and learning in a setting conducive to the higher expectations we have in society today.”
Mr Power said the school was forecast to grow by 30 to 50 students per year.
The Labor promise comes after Ripon MP Louise Staley announced in March that a Liberal Government would build a new primary school in Miners Rest if elected in the November 24 poll.
The population of Miners Rest is forecast to increase 37 per cent by 2036 with school aged children the largest demographic.
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