A DEVELOPMENT plan for the first stage of Emmanuel College's $40 million 20-year redevelopment has been given the thumbs up by Warrnambool City Council.
City councillors unanimously approved a plan to put a new complex for years seven and eight students comprising three connected two-storey teaching buildings at the western end of the Ardlie Street- Botanic Road site.
Buildings will be locatated a minumum of 28 metres from the western boundary off Hopetoun Road.
The western portion of the college grounds is now used for an agricultural studies program.
Last year the college accounced the redevelopment would give a total of three campuses capable of handling up to 1500 students.
Work on the years seven and eight campus is expected to start later this year to be followed by refurbishment of the Arlie Street and Canterbury Road campuses.
Canterbury Road will be turned into the region's first campus dedicated to year nines.
Warrnambool district has the highest percentage of Roman Catholics in the Ballarat diocese and one of the highest in Victoria.
Eighty-seven per cent of its year seven intake for 2010 was from Catholic families and the overall enrolment percentage is 80 per cent.
The college community is confident of financing the project through fund-raising, business support and government grants.
A report to the city council this week said there had to be a buffer zone on the western fringe which could not be used for further development.
The council has developed a drainage stragegy which includes a retention basin for low-lying land.
"If appropriate council will enter an agreement with the college to incorporate a larger stormwater retarding basis to accommodate run-off from the wider catchment," the report said.
Cr John Harris suggested an aquifer recharge drainage system for the area and Cr Jennifer Lowe suggested a safety pedestrian crossing on the adjacent Raglan Parade.