Residents debate fate of historic school

CRUNCH TIME: The Kyneton community must decide whether the school improves its current site or relocates.
CRUNCH TIME: The Kyneton community must decide whether the school improves its current site or relocates.

THE people of Kyneton are one step closer to determining the fate of Kyneton Primary School after a community meeting on Monday.

The community must decide whether to make improvements to the school's current building and site or construct a new building at Edgecombe Street, near Kyneton Secondary College.

The quandary is in relation to the considerable amounts of money promised to the school by both the government and Labor.

The Labor Party has said it will give the school $11.5 million to build a new facility next to the Kyneton Secondary College if elected in November.

The Coalition allocated $3.5 million to the school in this year's state budget - which the school will receive in July - and has promised further funding if it is re-elected.

School council president Fiona Copeland said about 60 people attended the meeting and opinions on the issue were mixed.

"We've got to look to the future in our school council's decision," she said.

"It's more about looking to the next 30 to 40 years."

She said Kyneton was a growing community that attracted young families.

She said the school could accommodate up to 350 students and was attended by 283 students, but numbers were expected to rise in coming years.

Ms Copeland would not say which option she preferred, but a school council document presented to the meeting states: "If we remain on the current site, when enrolments exceed 350, the school will add portable buildings.

"These portable buildings will encroach significantly on the play area, which is already less than the school is entitled to, given its current enrolments."

Ms Copeland said many people felt sentimental about the school's current heritage-listed building, which was made of bluestone and dated back to 1856.

But the school council document states the costs of maintaining the old building are significant, compared with maintenance costs for newer buildings.

The school will soon conduct a community survey on the issue.

"The education of the children comes first," Ms Copeland said.

"I've had no issues (with the school) and parents should be reassured that it's a great school."


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