AS Spring Gully Primary School approaches 400 students, the need for updated and modern facilities became increasingly urgent.
The population growth of Mandurang and Sedgwick in recent years has resulted in more and more students attending the school.
Construction will start on the $5.17 million upgrades next week, providing refurbished junior and art learning centres, upgrades to the outdoor learning areas, administration and staff areas, the creation of an outdoor amphitheatre and demolition of an existing building.
For school principal Francis Trezise, giving junior school teachers the opportunity to work in a modern environment was among the most exciting prospects of the project.
“Our staff are fantastic at collaborating and peer coaching, observing each other, giving feedback, so to be able to have that facility for the junior school teachers that we’ve got in place for the rest of the school, that’s exciting,” he said.
The new junior building is expected to be complete later this year, and the entire project should be ready by mid-2019.
A communal central courtyard will be a focal point.
Mr Trezise said the upgrades should help the school cope with growth expected in the coming years.
“It’s my seventh year as principal at the school and each year our school has got a little bit bigger,” he said.
“We’re around 390 this year, I think the record enrolment for the school is around 400 many years ago.
“It’s a bit of a growth corridor, particularly in the Mandurang-Sedgwick area, we get a lot of families coming from there now. Our numbers are forecast to go up a bit further.”
Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan visited the school on Tuesday to view the plans and speak with staff. The state government provided funding for the project in last year’s budget.
She said the school’s teachers deserved modern facilities.
“Here at Spring Gully, like at so many of our schools, there’s great teachers and staff who do a wonderful job supporting and educating our young children, but we need to support that with new school buildings,” Ms Allan said.
Fairbrothers Construction will carry out the works. The company has completed works on a number of schools in Bendigo in recent years, including the science building at Girton Grammar.