20 March 2022

ACT Government confirms three schools will share in over $150 million for upgrades, construction

| Lottie Twyford
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Narrabundah College is one of three schools that will benefit from more than $150 million in funding for upgrades. Photo: File.

The ACT Government has confirmed that Strathnairn, Narrabundah and Garran schools will share a $156 million package for significant construction upgrades.

The funding will be included in the upcoming Budget Review.

A significant program of upgrades is underway to modernise Narrabundah College, including new building works and additional modular learning centres for staff and students to use while preparatory works are undertaken for further stages.

This program has been in the works since 2019 when the ACT Government determined the school’s 60-year-old buildings were no longer fit for purpose. Previously, three asbestos-contaminated double-storey buildings on the northern end of the campus were demolished and replaced with 22 new transportable buildings on the oval.

A couple of suburbs over in Garran, the troubled local primary school will benefit from complete redevelopment and expansion and increased capacity for up to 800 students.

READ ALSO Bungendore High School: confusion and uncertainty the only known-knowns as project drags on

The school’s current ageing site has long been called unsuitable due to the current size of the student body. A parliamentary inquiry last year was told the addition of multiple demountable classrooms over the years also meant the school could no longer adequately provide outdoor space for students, nor was it able to provide specialist learning.

The government says that once completed, Garran Primary School will have brand new learning and administration facilities, car parking and improvements to school access.

It will also boast a new gymnasium, hard courts and green spaces which can be used by the whole community.

It’s expected that stage one – the construction of a new school campus – will be completed by the 2025 school year.

The government has promised that both Narrabundah College and Garran Primary School will continue to operate with as little disruption as possible while modernisation programs are underway.

Minister for Education Yvette Berry said she had been engaging in discussions with parents and members of both communities and said the feedback she had received had been positive.

“They will be looking forward to these upgrades to their schools over the coming years,” she said.

READ ALSO How Canberra schools fared in NAPLAN

Lastly, some funding will go towards completing the zero-emissions primary school and early childhood education centre to be built in Strathnairn. It will open in 2025 for families moving to the new suburb of Ginninderry.

“Ginninderry is growing, and having the region’s first school open in Strathnairn in 2025 will give local families – and families looking at moving to the region – confidence that they will have a high-quality local public school close to where they live,” Ms Berry said.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr noted that strong investment in local infrastructure was important as the ACT emerges from the pandemic.

“These projects will create hundreds of jobs and deliver new and improved schools and community facilities across the city,” Mr Barr said.

The ACT Government has promised to deliver 250,000 local jobs by 2025.

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It would be good if all public schools in Canberra had solar panels installed to help with their running costs.

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