The Education Directorate has flagged moving half of Yarralumla Primary School’s students into transportable classrooms in two to three years’ time as it considers the end-of-life options for the school.
The school was built in 1957 and has been identified as having lead paint and asbestos on site, both of which were common in buildings built before the 1990s.
Significant refurbishment work had to be reconsidered due to problems obtaining additional funding to conduct the works during periods of high enrollment growth in a “constrained budget environment”.
An Executive Brief provided to Education Minister Yvette Berry, and obtained under Freedom of Information laws, said that funding had led the Directorate to consider spacing out the works over a longer period of time.
Five transportable classrooms will become available once Campbell Primary School’s redevelopment was finalised in two to three years.
“These units can be used to relocate approximately 50 per cent of the Yarralumla student population for an indefinite period at a relatively low cost,” the brief said.
“Depending on budget priorities, these units could be used as staging for a redevelopment of the entire school or parts of it over an extended period of time.”
The Education Directorate said a new transportable building will be installed at the school in the next term but it has no “active plans” to install further transportable classrooms beyond this.
“The ACT Government ensures that every public school is safe for students and staff and has the infrastructure to support high-quality education,” an ACT Government spokesperson said.
“This building will provide extra teaching space to accommodate the growing student numbers at Yarralumla and provide more flexibility for the school.”
Infrastructure and Capital Works through ACT Property Group undertook maintenance work to replace windows at the primary school in July 2020 due to the deteriorating condition of the lead paint.
Testing showed elevated lead levels in eight rooms due to the dust created from the works and students were relocated to other classrooms while professional cleaning was undertaken.
More information about hazardous materials at schools can be found at www.education.act.gov.au.