THE kids at Woolsthorpe have 2.5 million reasons to smile — they’re getting a new school.
The state government allocated $2.5 million for the project in yesterday’s budget and the entire town is celebrating.
“We’re very, very excited,” principal Simon Perry said.
“It’s a fantastic initiative. We see our school as a hub within the local community as our reputation for quality education provision grows from strength to strength.”
Old 1950s portables will be replaced with four new learning studios, staff and administration buildings, a large open space area and “withdrawal” rooms.
The historic 1860s bluestone schoolhouse will be retained, as will the new multi-purpose centre which was funded through the Building the Education Revolution program.
Mr Perry said the project had been in the planning stages for three years with a huge amount of work put in by the school council in consultation with pupils, staff and the community to create a 21st century learning facility.
“The design and development was all done and finalised last year and it will all tie in with the local environment.”
Woolsthorpe has grown by 15 students to reach an enrolment of 101 this year.
Regional Cities Minister Denis Napthine said the school had been in need of improvement for several years.
“This redevelopment is needed because the current size of the classrooms are unsuitable and unworkable for modern teaching methods and there are a number of health and safety issues which need to be addressed,” Dr Napthine said.
He said a growth in population around the small town had resulted in a greater need for modern classrooms.
“I’ve worn out the carpet at the front door of the Education Minister’s office pushing for a new school at Woolsthorpe,” Dr Napthine said. “The staff and students have worked hard to keep the classrooms up to an acceptable level but the fact is that the building was past its use-by date.
“But their hard work is not enough to maintain this building as a proper teaching and learning facility.
“It is time for new, modern facilities. New classrooms will allow the school to keep at the forefront of educational reform, something which the staff are very keen to do.”
Dr Napthine said the school also received $50,000 from the Coalition last year to update its building plans to ensure they were up to the latest designs.