Portables to make way for basketball courts, recreation areas at Bendigo Senior Secondary College

Education minister James Merlino speaks with staff in the library at Bendigo Senior Secondary College. Picture: DARREN HOWE
Education minister James Merlino speaks with staff in the library at Bendigo Senior Secondary College. Picture: DARREN HOWE

BENDIGO Senior Secondary College will remove its portable classrooms later this year with plans to replace them with a recreation area including basketball courts following the completion of a $6 million refurbishment.

The works included the complete gutting and refurbishment of a circa-1960s building to include a new library space, VCAL area with a kitchen and 12 classrooms on the top floor.

The building’s additional classrooms mean the school no longer requires its portable rooms.

BSSC principal Dale Pearce said they could now turn their attention to creating more recreation space for its students.

“The refurbishment of this building… and our old library space has actually created a number of additional classrooms for us,” he said.

“Between that and what we’ve gained through the Ulumbarra project we’re now in a position where during the second half of this year all of our relocatable buildings will disappear off-site.

“We have a budget to be able to create some additional recreation spaces for the students, some outdoor basketball courts.

“They will go between us and Camp Hill Primary School.”

BSSC principal Dale Pearce with education minister James Merlino, BSSC students and Bendigo MPs Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards. Picture: DARREN HOWE

BSSC principal Dale Pearce with education minister James Merlino, BSSC students and Bendigo MPs Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards. Picture: DARREN HOWE

The $6 million works were formally opened on Thursday during a visit by Victorian education minister James Merlino.

He toured BSSC – the state’s largest provider of VCE, VCAL and VET – and spoke with staff and students about the works.

Mr Merlino said it was a testament to the hard work of those involved with the school.

“It’s been a long time coming, a lot of hard work,” he said.

“So to Dale, his leadership team, the school council, a lot of great work has gone into this project. 

“I think the benefit is for all to see. 

“To see the students studying here in groups or individually, it is just a great boost to education in this part of the state.”

The state government also pledged a further $2.8 million for Ulumbarra Theatre.

Mr Merlino announced a Head Start Apprenticeships and Traineeships program will begin next year in about 100 Victorian schools, including BSSC, Bendigo South East, Weeroona, Crusoe, Eagehawk, Rochester, Echuca and Kyabram secondary colleges.

He said the program would provide Year 12 and 13 students with “high technology” apprenticeships and traineeships in targeted areas of predicted jobs growth including construction, defence and health.

“They can elect to stay at school for a Year 13, one more year, but imagine leaving school with your VCE or VCAL certificate in one hand, and your trade certificate in the other,” he said.

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