After almost doubling in size over the past 10 years, White Hills Primary School is in line for a $4.6 million upgrade.
For students, it will mean an upgrade from old classrooms to new modern learning facilities if Labor is re-elected at this year’s state elections.
White Hills PS assistant principal Scott Ross said the funding announcement was an exciting opportunity for the school.
“We've grown really rapidly over the last seven or eight years,” he said. “Looking back at 2010, we only had 380 students and a much smaller (White Hills) population.
“We now are an enrolment-capped school (at 650) and every one of those students are squashed into a space here.
“The funding allows use to build multi-purpose spaces that allow us to be flexible and used by a multitude of students.”
Mr Ross said the school has done its best to adapt as its student population expanded.
“We have used the buildings on site and have had relocatable buildings brought onto site. Those buildings age, as all buildings do, and as evidenced in last week's storm, we have lots of leaking parts of roofs and certain sections of buildings that need maintenance.
“To be able to start again and design a space that enables us to educate students and prepare them for the future is going to be an amazing opportunity.”
The school has been campaigning for improved facilities for a number of years.
In April, the state government contributed $500,000 to form a master plan to rebuild much of the school.
“We have been in discussions with various politicians for a number of years – probably since we started to explode in population growth,” Mr Ross said.
“Being a growth corridor, the amount of new housing that started to be built meant we were prepared for an increase in students.
“As anything grows, it requires more space. We have been campaigning for about five to eight years, to get an upgrade and fantastically, this funding has been announced.”
Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said significant growth in the White Hills area made upgrades to the White Hills PS facilities necessary.
“People want to come to this school and live in this area,” she said. “There is a need to upgrade buildings to accommodate that growth and understand that good education not only needs great teacher, which White Hills has got, but also the best facilities.
“Which is why we're pleased to announce a re-elected Andrews Government will provide $4.6 million to upgrade classroom facilities at this growing school.”
Liberal candidate for Bendigo East Ian Ellis said he hoped limited space at White Hills wouldn’t affect students during construction.
“The announcement for funding for the White Hills Primary school sounds good, but does not indicate time frames,” he said.
“Is the funding to commence construction in 2019, or later? Where will the children go while construction is underway as space will be limited, given construction equipment, access and fencing around the site.”
Mr Ellis also said given the growth in the White Hills, Epsom and Huntly areas there should be scope for a new school to be constructed.
“Council estimates are for the regions population to almost double, so the need to plan for the future is now, and not only for schools,” he said.
“Perhaps given the growth in the area, including Epsom and Huntly, thought should be given to building another school in the area.”