Macarthur Street Primary School, in Soldiers Hill, is in the middle of a major facelift.
The venerable red-brick school building has been waiting for a refresh - it was opened in 1878, and an archway, gifted by Old Scholars in 1928, still sits across the main gate.
Work to remove the roof, in stages, got under way on the project at the beginning of the year, and has continued rapidly while students learn from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
The works, covering the entire main school building, include replacing roof tiles with Colorbond steel panels, adding new spouting and facia, fixing eaves and gables, and installing fresh downpipes and a new stormwater system.
Internally, ceilings are being replaced or repaired, and all ceilings, and external woodwork, will also be repainted.
The chimneys will also be repointed and repaired, with new rendering for tops.
Principal Andy Backwell said the works had been planned for several years.
"These are cement tiles put on in the 1960s - they leak, and occasionally fall off the building," he explained.
"The integrity of the internal area of the building was at risk, as was the safety of people outside the building."
The plan was to keep the building "as intact as it can possibly be".
It was coincidental that most children were not attending school in person during the works, which are now ahead of schedule.
Mr Backwell added remote learning at the primary school was going well, though staff missed having the children attending.
"We're very excited about the younger kids returning on Tuesday, and older kids in a fortnight," he said.
The project, funded by the state government's Victorian School Building Authority, is expected to be finished by October.
In September 2019, the state government committed $3.6 million for maintenance works at government schools across Ballarat.
This followed large commitments to education infrastructure in the state's 2019-20 budget.
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