Kalianna School in Bendigo could become state's leader in special education, principal says

Kalianna School principal Peter Bush discusses the plans with Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards and representatives of Searle Bros and E+ Architecture. Picture: Adam Holmes
Kalianna School principal Peter Bush discusses the plans with Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards and representatives of Searle Bros and E+ Architecture. Picture: Adam Holmes

THE rebuilt Kalianna School will become a leader in special education in Victoria, the school’s principal believes, with construction planned to begin in six weeks.

Bendigo construction firm Searle Bros was announced on Monday as the successful builder for the first stage of the $15.6 million project.

The first stage involves the rebuild of the administration area, multi-purpose room and cafeteria, at a cost of just over $7 million. Construction equipment will arrive at the school later this week, and students will be moved out of the old building in six weeks.

Kalianna School principal Peter Bush said the school would incorporate the most modern teaching methods in special education.

An artist's impression of the new entrance to Kalianna School. Image: E+ Architecture

An artist's impression of the new entrance to Kalianna School. Image: E+ Architecture

“We’re breaking the mould of the special school build,” he said.

“It’s not just a normal special school where there’s 12 per classroom. We’ve got 24 to 30 students in each classroom, with two teachers. So it’s a team teaching model, which allows us to give more one on one instruction to the students.

“So it will be a fantastic build, and a completely new design on what special schools have been built in the past.”

The school could be complete by the end of 2018, or early 2019.

The multi-purpose room will be 370 square metres, and the school will incorporate areas for hospitality training with a commercial and domestic kitchen.

It will also have space for the training of teachers from across the Bendigo region, improving their understanding of teaching students with disabilities. The school will host undergraduate teachers and professional development programs.

Architect Nick Marino, of E+ Architects, said the new entry to the school would be more inviting.

“The point of entry is very important as part of the project brief,” he said.

“The whole building - particularly in Stage 1 - is about identification of the school, which is really important, making sure that we have modern facilities, good teaching areas.

“The planning in the initial stages was important to ensure that we have got a whole of school approach.”