WORK on the new senior campus for Wonthaggi Secondary College has officially commenced, with politicians last week turning the first sod.
The project, according to Minister for Education James Merlino, will be completed by mid-2020.
It’s massive education project for the region, upgrading the shire’s only public secondary college.
The campus will be next to the Bass Coast Specialist School on McKenzie Street, featuring a much-desired highball stadium with three competition-grade basketball courts.
It’ll give the 400-member strong Wonthaggi Amateur Basketball Association a state-of-the-art home, with the stadium open to the community.
Association vice-president Katrina Maxwell said the stadium would be a game-changer.
“It will enable us to provide much more meaningful programs for our youth and it’s beyond exciting,” she said.
“We’ve struggled to continue to exist. You actually want to see the holes in the ground because there’s been a lot of talk for a lot of years so this is great.
“The stadium’s joining in with the school and it just makes sense. It’s a community facility that will be so well utilised by us and plenty of other organisations, as well as the school.”
The project’s been designed by ClarkeHopkinsClarke Architects with builders SJ Higgins appointed to construct it.
Acting college principal Darren Parker said it’s not every day when you have a real impact on the future lives of hundreds of kids.
“There will be a reproduction of courses, but we’ll be able to consider new options,” he said of the $32.5 million development.
“The learning spaces are designed to support senior classes. If they were designing a primary school, there would be a lot of open space and so on, there is that – but there’s less of it.”
The campus is next to the Bass Coast Specialist School, renaming McKenzie Street as the town’s education precinct.
Labor candidate for Bass Jordan Crugnale said the college announcement, just like the Wonthaggi Hospital funding, has resonated throughout the community.
“It creates that confidence as well in the town itself, in Plan Melbourne it was labelled a regional centre and to get to that we needed the hospital, we needed the school and there’s a whole development precinct happening in Wonthaggi.
“The town itself is set to grow and unless you’ve got those services, people won’t come here.”
Ms Crugnale’s supportive of the council’s push to get the McBride campus transferred to the shire.
Mr Merlino said it was a great partnership between local and state governments.
“This is going to be a jewel in a crown for the community,” he said in studying plans for the new campus.
Old building, new use
HOPES are high that the State Government will this year hand over the Wonthaggi Secondary College’s McBride campus site to the Bass Coast Shire Council.
As the first sod was turned last Thursday for the new McKenzie Street campus, the Sentinel-Times asked Minister for Education James Merlino if, after completion, the old site could be transferred to the Bass Coast Shire Council.
It could pave the way for a new arts, cultural or commercial precinct – or anything the community wants.
“I’m really keen that the site continues to be used and accessed by the community, I know it’s a strong view of Jordan’s [Crugnale, Bass candidate] as well,” he said.
“So we’ve had the Victorian School Building Authority engage with Bass Coast Shire Council to deliver exactly that outcome.
“We’ll make some further announcements down the track but my absolute intention is that site continues to be used by the community.”
It’s only a waiting game now.