THE circa-1877 Camp Hill Primary School main building is among Bendigo’s most recognisable and historic structures.
The distinctive spire once served as a fire services lookout for Bendigo, the building was the training place for hundreds of teachers, and it also held council meetings more than 100 years ago.
But for the 360 primary school students who study within its walls in 2017, the leaking roof has become a potential health risk as paint peels off walls and carpets become damp in the rain.
Like with many heritage buildings, the ongoing maintenance is a financial burden for the school.
On Thursday, it was announced the school was successful in securing $250,000 in funding from the state government to repair the roof, which has leaked for the last two years.
Camp Hill Primary School acting principal Chris Barker said the leak had become an urgent matter.
“We’ve had some patchwork done to it but it’s just got to the point where we can’t continue to do that and the roof needs some major repairs,” he said.
“The roof has got to that point where it’s beyond the finances of the school to be able to repair it.
“If you have damp rooms, if you have paint that’s flaking off the walls, we wouldn’t want students sitting in those sorts of conditions.”
Education minister James Merlino visited the school on Thursday where he was treated to a performance from the Camp Hill Primary School Short Circus – a program that has run for more than 20 years and includes students of all ages juggling, riding unicycles and doing acrobatics.
Mr Merlino said the students deserved the best learning environment possible.
“These wonderful heritage buildings have got a lot of work that’s required, a lot of maintenance that’s required, and unfortunately while wonderful teaching and learning happening in the classroom, but the roof leaks,” he said.
The school requires regular maintenance to its plumbing and painting, and the old building has ongoing electrical and heating issues.
Camp Hill Primary School was among 100 schools in the state to share in $24 million in upgrades.
East Loddon P-12 College will receive $290,000 to eradicate termites infesting the school’s buildings, and to repair any damage.