Construction starts for Catholic College Bendigo's $10 million multipurpose building at Junortoun campus

CONSTRUCTION has started on a new $10 million multipurpose building at Catholic College Bendigo’s La Valla campus in Junortoun.

The state government contributed $1 million to the project, which will allow the school to rapidly expand enrolment at its Years 7 to 9 campus.

The building, referred to as a “performing arts and innovation hub”, will include 28 classrooms and enable the school to remove its portable rooms.

CCB principal Brian Turner predicted the campus could accommodate up to 1200 students once the new building was complete, and that figure could increase to 1800.

Members for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan "turns the first sod" with school captains Meg Patterson and Yohannes Basha, and principal Brian Turner. Picture: Adam Holmes

Members for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan "turns the first sod" with school captains Meg Patterson and Yohannes Basha, and principal Brian Turner. Picture: Adam Holmes

He said the building signified a “new era” at CCB.

“It’s the end of having portables, it’s really moving into a contemporary space for our learning and teaching, better resources, and a provision to move towards our master plan and upgrade our facilities,” Mr Turner said.

“The highlight would be the development of a performing arts centre for our students.

“So having the music, having the drama, having STEAM (science, tech, engineering, arts and maths) and incorporating an interdisciplinary approach to our education.”

The school’s master plan includes further development at the Junortoun site, and forming partnerships with sporting bodies and the City of Greater Bendigo.

The opening of Marist College Bendigo in Maiden Gully saw a drop-off in enrolments at CCB, but the school predicts those numbers will pick up again by 2019.

Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan visited the construction site in Junortoun on Wednesday – a site where she herself was taught in the late 1980s.

She said the state government had a role to play in helping non-government schools to expand.

“We’ve made a commitment of a $120 million fund to support non-government schools with their building programs,” Ms Allan said.

“We know that with the growing population across Bendigo, across all of our schools, whether they’re government, Catholic, independent schools, that they all experience different growth and different pressures.

“We all need to combine our efforts to support that and one of the ways, a very practical way, that the Andrews government can provide support to the Catholic schools is by providing these funds for their building projects.”

The building is expected to be complete by June next year.