HOW far does $5.6 million go when you’re building a new secondary college?
Not nearly far enough.
Which is why the Korumburra Secondary College School Council’ Community Engagement Group has launched a ‘Buy A Plaque’ campaign.
At $500 for a Platinum plaque (corporates), $300 for a Gold, $200 for a silver and $100 for a Bronze plaque; they hope to raise enough for the fit out of the new canteen, for landscaping and also for a fence for the outdoor basketball court… “to stop the balls bouncing away”.
They also need 20 microwave ovens for the fantastic new food technology centre, an $8000 wood lathe for the new wood and technology centre and several other pieces of equipment.
But between the College’s building committee, school council and principal contractors, TS Constructions, they’re making the money stretch as far as possible and the result is a magnificent improvement to the school facilities, much of which will be ready for the start of next term.
In relation to the actual building project itself, once TS Constructions got involved, progress has been very pleasing, according to principal Abigail Graham, but it’s still been a long time coming for Korumburra.
Last week, Ms Graham and school council representatives Matt Rowe and Sam Norrey took the local Member of Parliament, Danny O’Brien, on a tour of the soon-to-be-completed building works.
And he liked what he saw very much.
“It’s taken a long time to get here, three-plus years and I’ve had reason to ask the Minister about the delays,” Mr O’Brien said.
“But it’s all coming together extremely well now,” he said.
Mr O’Brien is well aware of the fact that Korumburra Secondary has been short-changed by the grant process however and he’s determined to make the $6 million Stage II a funding priority for the Coalition ahead of the November 2018 election.
“That’s what I will be trying to do, yes.”
For now though, the improvements at Korumburra will be immediate.
The huge new foyer area, at the centre of the new wing, is the focal point providing a huge assembly, crossover and meeting area between classrooms, senior study areas and staff rooms.
Off this light-filled area are two elaborately appointed new science rooms with extensive laboratory space. Opposite that is the wonderfully appointed food technology centre, even if it is bereft of microwave ovens at this point.
There’s the new wood and technology centre, the most expensive of the college’s course areas to fit out, art rooms, study areas, staff rooms and extensive ramps to make the facility fully compliant with the latest accessibility and safety requirements.
“That’s been one of the reasons for the delays,” said school council vice president Matt Rowe.
“Because the preparations took such a long time, some new regulations came in in the meantime and we had to redesign for that as well.”
But he too, is delighted with what he is seeing, and in turn, Ms Graham has thanked the school council for its hands-on involvement with the building project.
“We had to compromise in some areas because we didn’t get all the money we needed. For example we weren’t funded for a new canteen but food is central to the life of the school so we wanted to get the canteen there in the middle of it.
“One of the things we had to put in ourselves was air conditioning but we had to upgrade the power supply first to be able to do that.
“There’s been things all the way along like that and we couldn’t have done it without the involvement of the school council, and not, the community.”
Ms Graham said the college was kicking goals in a lot of areas; with its fantastic Naplan results, the implementation of its Effective Learner Behavious program and with the improvement to facilities but was also seeking a higher level of engagement with the community which was the aim of the school council’s community engagement group headed by Sam Norrey.
“The school council talked about engaging better with the community and as well as the Buy A Plaque campaign, we have had a Fathers’ Day and Mother’s Day stall, a sausage sizzle at Bunnings, we did the kiosk at the school production and we ran a successful trivia night,” said Sam.
“Country towns really value their Secondary Colleges very highly and there’s a lot of evidence that if you have a vibrant, well-resourced secondary college it’s good for property values and the community as a whole,” Ms Graham said.
Other site works will follow the handing over of the new school buildings this week, including landscaping and the demolition of the old tech centre to make way for the development of a new outdoor basketball and two half-courts. All that work will be completed by the end of term four.
Thanks to a grant from Michael’s Supa IGA of $5000 and work by Jumbunna Engineering, the school will be able to add a set of new goal posts to the school oval.
It’s all go, go, go at Korumburra Secondary College ahead of the term break this Friday.
When $5.6 million college funding wasn’t enough