THE announcement of funding for planning of the new Wonthaggi Secondary College senior campus is finally a step in the right direction towards a new school.
As part of the 2016/17 Victorian Budget, $12 million will be spent on planning for new schools across the state, with Wonthaggi Secondary College one of 34 schools listed.
Wonthaggi Secondary College principal Garry Dennis confirmed the commitment was to draw up plans for a new school.
“We got a grant of about $70,000 some years ago to prepare the concept plan and that was quite detailed but didn’t get to stage of how many classrooms there would be, where the gym would be etc.,” he said.
“It’s about having actual plans in the drawer somewhere where the government can come out and say, ‘Now we can proceed’. There are a number of plans floating around Victoria that will never be built, however.
“There will be plans prepared and the next step once plans are prepared will be lobbying for the government to commit to building the school.”
The education department will now work with the school to organise the planning and funds required for the project.
Mr Dennis said he was positive about the plans, but was wary that a new school being built could still be a long way off.
“We’ve got people in our corner. I’m very optimistic. It’s a logical first step and you can’t build a school without plans,” he said.
“At the moment we’ve got very strong commitment from a number of people in government, our local (Bass) member Brian Paynter has been supportive and (Eastern Victoria Region MP) Harriet Shing has been brilliant.
“Compared to where we were four weeks ago, we’ve got a positive commitment to something happening.”
Ms Shing said she would continue to support the school’s campaign to rebuild.
“Wonthaggi Secondary College is a great school with a huge catchment area – it’s continuing to grow and its teachers and staff do a power of work to bring the best out of every student,” she said.
“Education Minister James Merlino and I have been working hard with Mr Dennis and the school council to make sure that the work can get underway at long last to deliver better facilities and learning environments to Wonthaggi.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the planning stage completed, and to working with parents and families so that Wonthaggi Secondary College gets the support it needs to go from strength to strength.”