6 March 2022

Relentless rain drives Kenny High School opening beyond 2023

| Lottie Twyford
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artist's impression of Kenny high school

An artist’s impression of Kenny High School once construction is complete. Photo: ACT Government.

Wet weather has delayed construction and pushed back the opening of the $85 million high school in the developing suburb of Kenny in Gungahlin.

ACT Education Directorate officials confirmed in an annual reports hearing the school would no longer be ready to accept students at the start of the 2023 school year as initially intended.

Multiple school construction projects have recorded delays of more than 100 days because of poor weather conditions and the recent wet summer.

Officials were unable to confirm when Kenny High School would be ready to open.

Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman used his call-in powers in 2021 to approve the development application for the facility and speed up construction.

Mr Gentleman said at the time it was important construction of the 800-student, year seven to 10 school remained on track and delays were minimised because it was being built in a “high growth area”.

The call-in was largely initiated to ensure the school would be ready to welcome new students from the start of the next school year.

Initial works have started on the school’s Well Station Road site, according to directorate officials.

Upgrades totalling about $11 million will be made to surrounding roads to allow access to the school.

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The site was chosen because it was within walking distance of light rail and could be integrated into the development of Kenny.

The school will be 400 metres from the Flemington Road light rail station, 1 km from Harrison School (preschool to year 10), 1.5 km from Franklin School (expanding to year 6), and 2 km from the new primary school in Throsby which opened this year.

The school will provide general and specialist learning environments, and incorporate indoor and outdoor learning areas plus integrated spaces to support students with specialised needs.

Facilities available for community use outside of school hours will include a multi-purpose hall; double gymnasium with basketball, netball, futsal and volleyball markings; covered hard courts suitable for basketball and netball; and an oval for soccer, rugby union and rugby league.

The school’s buildings will be zero-emission and include about 100 kW of solar power generation.

Conservation work is underway with the neighbouring nature reserve and nearby Mitchell Resource Management Centre.

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ACT Education Directorate executive group manager business services David Matthews said Kenny High School did not yet have a priority enrolment area but reviews were underway to determine implications for nearby schools.

“We haven’t finalised the priority enrolment area for Kenny yet because the enrolments have not yet opened for that high school,” Mr Matthews said.

He said a range of work was underway in the Gungahlin region to improve and update existing school infrastructure.

A new high school to accommodate 600 students will also be built in Taylor, adjacent to the Margaret Hendry School which is also currently being expanded.

Contract negotiations with the successful tenderer for the Taylor school have just been completed and an announcement is expected to be made soon on who that is, Mr Matthews said.

The high school should be open by the start of the 2024 school year.

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