CENTRAL Victorian independent and Catholic schools have received millions of dollars in funding to upgrade their buildings.
The state government confirmed it would fast-track funding for 56 school projects across Victoria, as part of its Non-Government Schools Capital Fund.
As part of the program, St Francis of the Fields Primary School in Strathfieldsaye received $4.98 million, Holy Rosary Primary School in White Hills received $2 million, Creek Street Christian College received $2.5 million, and St Joseph's School in Rochester received just over $1 million.
St Joseph's College in Echuca and St Mary's Primary School in Inglewood also received funding.
Holy Rosary principal Paul Wilkinson said the funding would go towards part two of the school's master plan, which had been in the works for six years.
He said the school's administration building would be upgraded and an outdoor learning area would be covered.
Mr Wilkinson said there was a shortfall of about $100,000 for the project, which the school community would cover.
He said he found out about their successful grant application through a call from Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan.
"It was a really welcome call and a pleasant surprise," Mr Wilkinson said. "We're very excited about it. It's some good news that's come out of a challenging year.
"Our parents and our community have worked really hard with myself and the Catholic Education Office Sandhurst to really get organised for these grants and submissions.
"It's a really positive thank you to the board and community, and a thank you to the government. The government has realised education is so important in these hard times."
St Francis of the Fields principal Tim Moloney said the $4.98 million for his school would go towards building eight new classrooms, more office spaces, kitchenette areas, and toilets.
He said the upgrades were important to support the growing cohort at the Strathfieldsaye school.
"There is a significant pressure on us to grow our school to cater the increase in students," Mr Moloney said.
"Thanks to Catholic Education Office Sandhurst and the state government, we have received grants in recent years but never one to this size.
"We're very relieved this will alleviate some of those enrolment challenges."
Mr Moloney said the school was hoping all of the building works would be completed by the end of 2021, with students able to move into the new spaces at the start of 2022.
He said it was exciting to have such positive news after a difficult year of remote learning.
"It's been a challenging year for all of our staff and students, and in particular our parents," Mr Moloney said. "I guess it was really lovely to make the staff announcement. They were immediately thrilled.
"It's made a lot of people very happy. Most importantly, it will give our students brilliant learning opportunities in the future."
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