Five Million dollars was the amount granted to Woodend Primary School for the development of facilities and programs.  A great deal of feedback was given by parents, staff and students.  From that we found considerable agreement on having a Science, Engineering and Maths (STEM) focus with a covered outdoor learning area over the netball court. Depending on how far the funding goes, we might see additional parts of the plan come to fruition as well. The plan has been scoped by Greenway Architects and is currently with DECD for the next stage of planning.

The main classroom building will consist of four classrooms, an open area, and a multipurpose outside space designed for students to work on a range of learning activities. This may include some of the science, technology, engineering and maths that is a focus in all schools at the present time. This will compliment our work in science, and all children from reception through to year seven will have an opportunity to access it. It is going to give us some of the best facilities that exist in any school in the state.

The covered outdoor learning area is going to be a feature that will be a notable feature as people go past the school.  It is designed at the moment to hopefully have a colour bond roof and to join the current gymnasium with a folding door system. The gym will open up to the covered outdoor learning area so that a wide range of  programs and activities can flow from one area to another. This will enhance how we can use these facilities such as when we have the Woodend Markets, the comprehensive physical education program, school assemblies, the visiting performers that come to present exciting learning activities to our students as well as many other areas that we provide through the curriculum to our students.

At this stage we don’t know how far the money will extend as there are architect fees and administration fees yet to be taken out of the funding as well. We are hopeful that there will be some additional concepts that we can include, such as a proposed electronic sign near the main gates, improvements to the rooms 15/16 area, and upgrades outside the Hall.

The playground area in the middle of the school will be removed as part of the development and we are examining how we can incorporate additional play space for children as part of the total development.  The equipment to be removed has originated from a variety of sources over the years and much is not compliant with today’s playground regulations.  As such it was destined to be removed in any case, so this will give us an opportunity to explore suitable alternative play provision.

The entire $650 million that the previous government has allocated across South Australia is being spent in a roll-out process over four years. Hence we are not quite sure when we will begin our part of this program. We are prepared to start at any time and have structured our class locations for 2017 in order to facilitate this. Teachers are well prepared. When we do begin there will naturally be some level of disruption to our programs and students. That is unavoidable. Fortunately what we get at the end of this will be of incredible benefit to all  students, both now and in the future.