EPSOM Primary School is forecast to reach capacity in 2020, just two years after a $5.7 million rebuild of the school was complete.
Enrolments are expected to surpass 300 next year after growing from 180 when the school was proposed due to a rapid increase in housing development in Bendigo’s north and the capping of enrolment at the nearby White Hills Primary School.
The Education Department purchased additional land for the school as part of the upgrade, but the North Central Catchment Management Authority deemed it to be in a flood plain so no construction can occur. It will be used for outdoor recreation.
Epsom Primary School council president Scott Jefferis said the number of prep classes at Epsom went from one to three when White Hills was capped at 650 students, causing a surge in enrolment figures.
When asked if demand would out-pace the infrastructure at the new school, Mr Jefferis said: “yes, we would expect so”.
He said using demountable classrooms would be “the Education Department’s method of expanding”.
“Our school’s continuing to grow. The northern corridor of Bendigo is developing very quickly and our enrolments are increasing as well,” Mr Jefferis said.
“The demands on our space is continuing to grow.”
Labor announced the $5.7 million to rebuild the Epsom Primary School during the 2014 election campaign – a commitment that was matched by the Coalition.
The upgrade was designed to remove the need for relocatable, or demountable, classrooms, which were used heavily at the school prior to the works.
Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said the purchase of additional land near the school for recreational use freed up more of the grounds to be used for learning spaces.
“The new school has been built and we have bought additional land around the school,” she said.
“We will continue to talk to the school about how it can develop into the future.”
Liberal Party upper house member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell said it was a case of poor forward planning.
“This school was a commitment in 2014 from both the Liberal and Labor parties if they were elected, to upgrade this school, but Labor have obviously failed to plan for the growth of this area, just as they’re failing to plan for population growth everywhere,” she said.
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