Idea for a second primary school in Marong floated as part of the Marong township structure plan

HOPEFUL: Marong Primary School principal Russell Jeffrey (right) said his school needs money to expand.
HOPEFUL: Marong Primary School principal Russell Jeffrey (right) said his school needs money to expand.

An idea for a second primary school in Marong has been floated as part of the town’s updated structure plan, despite the existing primary school still awaiting state funds for an “urgent upgrade”.

City of Greater Bendigo councillors will vote on whether to endorse a final draft of the Marong township structure plan at a meeting on Wednesday. 

The final draft includes a number of amendments to a previous version, one of which references a potential site for a future government primary school and co-located neighbourhood sporting facility on Hills Road.

A report prepared for councillors reads: “The Department of Education and Training has been involved with the (Marong township structure) plan and agree that the existing school site cannot accommodate the expected growth in Marong. While no commitment has been made by the Department to acquire this land, it has been agreed that there is potential to develop a school on Hills Road.”

Marong Primary School shared an allocation of $12 million in the 2016-17 state government budget for planning.

Principal Russell Jeffrey said the school needed $3 million from the government to expand its current facility, which would increase its capacity from 175-200 to around 300.

The school currently has around 150 students.

“We're growing at the rate of 15 to 20 students a year which is rapid but not massive, in the next three years we'll grow by 60-70 students,” he said.

“We have an urgent need for an upgrade. 

“A second school is something that will be needed, but is more likely to be needed in the mid-2020s.”

Marong’s population, currently at 1100, is expected to expand to 8000 in 25-30 years, and state member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said securing funding for the existing school upgrade was a priority for her.

“Obviously Marong is a very big growth area and pressure on schools will become quite evident down the track, but at the moment the priority is to have the Marong Primary School upgrade funded,” she said.

“It’s all very well putting houses up but you’ve got to put that infrastructure in place to support that growth.”