KALIANNA School has long been one of the region’s most outdated schools.
Its small, crammed classrooms have been a handbrake for teachers, students and parents alike.
The school community has campaigned for four years for a complete rebuild and, having received funds for planning, it now has the full $10 million needed to bring it up to standard.
Premier Daniel Andrews visited the school on Friday morning to meet students, see the plans and walk around the grounds.
The funding was announced earlier this week when the state government delivered the 2017-18 budget.
The school will receive the funding for the upgrade in stages over the next three years, with the new school planned to be ready for opening by the second half of 2020.
The reception for Mr Andrews when he was introduced to the Kalianna students was likely to be among the most raucous he has heard for a while.
He said the continued lobbying of the school community made the funding possible.
“It happens when you’ve got a clear plan, and just refuse to give up on getting the support that you’re entitled to,” Mr Andrews said.
“To everybody that has kept faith in that plan: you should be very proud.
“You just don’t get these sorts of investments, and this type of support, unless you’ve got champions. Unless you’ve got advocates for you. Strong and powerful and effective voices for you.”
The highlight of the new and improved Kalianna School will be a 370 square metre multi-purpose room.
It also includes areas for dance and music, along with a hospitality training room, commercial and domestic kitchen, and home economics room for students to use.
Before the 2014 state election, Kalianna School was promised $4.8 million by the former Coalition government. It received almost $350,000 in urgent maintenance funding in the 2014-15 budget.
Parents circulated a petition in the lead-up to the election, claiming toilets were broken, roofs were leaking and there was a desperate need for new air conditioners.
Kalianna School principal Peter Bush said one of the key parts of the project would be the ability for the school to host teacher training.
“The Kalianna School community are very excited to have the Premier visit today to acknowledge the hard work the whole school community have done to ensure the students who attend our school are taught in 21st century classrooms purpose built for their needs,” he said.
“Another exciting feature of our school is the building of a training facility to upskill teachers across the whole region to cater for the needs of students with a disability.”
The school will become a centre of education for undergraduate teachers and will host professional development programs.