Within the month we expect to commence the school's next major building project. This project has been flagged in our 2013-2015 Strategic Plan; we have used the last three years to explore possibilities, assess needs and opportunities and consider the range of issues associated with this project. Now, we are about to commence!
Throughout 2015 I have hosted 26 events for parents - whether breakfasts, lunches or suppers - to tell the story of the school, to explain the nature of the changing educational landscape, and to outline the plans for this building. (I suspect that this hospitality, provided by our canteen, has had an effect on my waistline!) Through these events I have spoken with 222 individuals from 147 of our school families; we have received pledges and donations of around $120K towards the cost of the building through the School's Building Fund. My family, and the families of the Board of Directors, have all made contributions to this project, believing it to be the next step in the life of the school. I am deeply appreciative of the support that has been shown towards this project, whether through verbal affirmation or financial commitment.
The building plans were presented at the Presentation Events at the end of last year and there has been a display of the plans in the Performing Arts Centre throughout 2015.
By way of a brief primer to parents who may not be aware of our plans, we will be constructing a building on the site of the main staff carpark, stretching from the current Year 2 classrooms down to the Senior School. In order to increase the total amount of carparking on site, we are engaging in signficant excavation to create two levels of carparking in the base of the building, one of which is accessed off Bowra Close and one of which is accessed through the main school gate. On top of these carparking levels, the ground floor will contain a new Independent Learning Centre, administrative and meeting spaces and a base for the Learning Enrichment Team. The top level, which is the second storey when viewed from inside the school, will be given over to learning spaces for students in Years 5 and 6.
Associated with the building are a number of other elements, including new learning spaces on top of the English rooms in the Senior School, a roof over the Science courtyard, covered walkways around the school and substantial landscaping in the Junior School playground. The removal of our 'temporary' demountable classrooms will open up significantly more playground space for the Junior School. We will also be removing the 'maze', terracing and levelling the existing playground and providing better access around the site.
At this point we expect to start construction at the beginning of the summer holidays and we expect the building to be in use by the start of 2017. The landscaping in the Junior School should be done by the middle of 2017.
There will be significant inconvenience to the life of the school associated with the construction process. As the site is in the middle of the school, there will be noise, dirt, dust and disruption to movement at various times and stages of the construction. We will obviously manage these challenges to the best of our ability and we are confident that the community is sufficiently resilient to be able to cope with the short-term pain for the sake of the school's long-term benefit.
If you would like to find out more about the project, you are welcome to come to one of the functions that I am hosting; the links are on the e-news letter or you can contact Mr Dom Valastro at the school. You are also warmly invited to make a (tax-deductible) financial contribution to the project at the link provided above.