Castlemaine Secondary College is celebrating Friday’s announcement that the May state budget will include $11.75 million for it to continue its major capital works upgrade.
State MP for Bendigo West Maree Edwards visited the college first thing on Friday morning to deliver the announcement the college community had been hoping to hear.
The $11.75 million budget coup for the college means it will be able to complete its staged major capital works upgrade.
“What it means is that we can begin planning in coming months to finish building our school,” delighted principal Paul Frye told the packed auditorium that assembled to hear Ms Edwards’ announcement.
The principal said building works, which are expected to start next year, will include a new arts precinct, administration building, more classrooms, media lab and staff areas.
“It’s really exciting times. I’m so grateful that Maree could come here today and make this announcement,” Mr Frye said.
The project is expected to have wider community benefits with fewer local students projected to leave the community to finish their schooling into the future.
“This is an incredible day for the whole of Mount Alexander Shire not just Castlemaine,” Mount Alexander Shire CEO Darren Fuzzard told the Midland Express.
“We’ve got so many kids that come in from across the shire to this school for secondary education and this is really the final piece to give them the facilities that they need to make it a truly brilliant school so it’s a great day for the whole shire.
“We’ve seen that numbers have increased this year from last year already. There are well over 600 students now and this is just going to be another thing that says – we’ve got state of the art facilities right here in our town.”
School council president Beth Mellick described the funding announcement as “a tremendous boost for public education in the local community, while Cr Christine Henderson, who previously worked as a teacher including a stint at the Castlemaine college, described it as “thrilling”.
“This is thrilling. I remember seeing the original concepts on paper and thinking how unlikely it is that it will ever happen, and here I am being proven beautifully wrong by this announcement,” Cr Henderson said.
Students were also impressed with the budget inclusion.
“This is huge for us and I hope we use it to our full advantage,” student captain Nioka Mellick-Cooper said.