Upgrades at two Ballarat high schools have begun, ahead of their official separation next year.
Woodmans Hill Secondary College’s new performing arts centre will house a 250 seat auditorium, cafe, and home economics classroom, part of a $6.2 million upgrade that includes new science and technology buildings.
The works are expected to be finished next year.
The current assembly hall has been gutted, and principal Simon Haber said the completed project will be a great opportunity for the school as enrolments increase.
“The canteen and home economics rooms are in portables, the canteen’s been there since the ‘80s, and the home economics portable was put there in the mid-2000s when we completed our initial redevelopment,” he said.
“The integrated technology wing replaces a building from the 1960s - it’s certainly time for a change.”
Incorporating laser cutters and 3D printers as well as rooms for art and woodwork, the integrated technology wing will provide more pathways for students.
Mr Haber said enrolments will rise from 320 students to almost 400 next year, as the school moves to provide a full year seven to VCE curriculum.
At Mount Rowan, $12.6 million will be spent on similar facilities, as well as a brand new humanities wing, and an upgraded administration building.
These will be the first major upgrades at the school since it was built in the 1970s.
Principal Seona Murnane said the work would affect every part of the school.
“Like Woodmans Hill, last year we had the early works completed, which is the seniors centre, and VCE and VCAL students now have a place they can share with us and have quiet facilities to get private study done, and the classrooms are just magnificent,” she said.
“For us here at Mount Rowan, in 15 months time, it’ll be a very different looking school to what people have known for 40 years.
“It’ll all be finished by 2020 … kids we’ve got now will see it through, and have the school they deserve to be at.”
In June, state Education Minister James Merlino announced the schools would become separate entities.
“It’s an opportunity to really redevelop both schools in readiness for the separation next year,” Mr Haber said.
“It’s finalising a long process to have two independent government schools which are for their local communities.”