A NEW building encompassing the pillars of science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics will welcome its first students this week.
Catherine McAuley College students and their parents experienced the new Sister Aloysius Martyn Arts Centre at the school’s Coolock campus during a mentoring day on Thursday.
Years seven, eight and nine students will use the building when they officially start the new school term on Friday.
Principal Brian Turner said the new building had 28 learning areas, including general classrooms and specialised areas focusing on digital technology, arts, drama and music.
He said the centre featured a performance area, larger classrooms for drama students, wet areas for science, and music practice rooms.
The new addition means there are no portables at the school for the first time in about 25 years.
Work on the centre started in November 2017. It is named after one of the Sisters of Mercy, who arrived in Bendigo in 1876 to share Catholic education.
Handover of the new building was completed last week.
Mr Turner said the arts centre would help the school focus on integrated learning.
Integrated learning involves focusing on a common theme across different subjects to improve understanding.
“This building was designed for that learning purpose,” Mr Turner said.
He hopes it will be a catalyst for students being more engaged in music and the arts.
The new centre also provides space for the school population to grow.
Mr Turner said 10 year seven classes would start at the Coolock campus, at Junortoun, this year – up one from 2018.
He said the number of students in year seven had increased from 235 to 270.
New and returning students alike wandered the halls during the mentoring day on Thursday, getting used to their new surroundings.
Among them were Daniel and Joseph Artavilla, 12, and Demi Skinner, 12. The trio will start their first day of high school on Friday.
Demi said the size of the new arts centre had left an impression on her.
“It’s really big,” she said.
She said she was looking forward to starting sports classes, but apprehensive about maths.
Daniel and Joseph were also excited for sports and to test out the new centre.
The sporting opportunities could be about to grow for the students, with a new precinct set for the Coolock campus.
Mr Turner said the state-of-the-art facility, announced in October, was at the design stage.
It will feature an indoor training zone with six synthetic wickets, female-friendly and accessible change rooms, administration area and community space.
The sporting precinct is a project between the school and City of Greater Bendigo.
Meanwhile at Catherine McAuley College’s senior campus in Bendigo, an allied health development is under way. It is due to open later in term one.
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