$5 million St Mary’s upgrade underway

Fr Franco Filipetto, principal Emma Timmins, student Chaylee Bruyn, Minister David Littleproud, student Jayden Portener, Hutchinson Builders representative and acting ED Julie Payne turned sod at the St Mary's site Thursday 11 February.

By Jess Baker

After decades of planning, multi-million dollar upgrade works at Warwick’s St Mary’s Catholic Primary School have begun.

The project – worth more than $5 million – will merge the lower and upper campuses for the first time in the school’s history.

Two general areas and the current administration area at the upper campus will be demolished to make way for eight new general learning areas, a multipurpose area, student amenities and covered lunch areas.

Other existing spaces will be converted into Prep year rooms, four general learning areas, a new administration area, technology area, uniform store, learning support, book hire, maintenance store, and other facilities for teachers, school staff and students.

School principal Emma Timmins said the project will have a tremendous impact on both teachers and students, and will mean the school will “no longer be educationally disadvantaged”.

“We can’t wait to see what the school looks like at the end of the project,” she said.

The project is predominantly funded through the Australian Government’s Capital Grants Program which helps non-government schools improve their school infrastructure when they do not have enough funding to pay for the whole project.

Minister David Littleproud said the upgrades will completely transform the school and the Warwick community.

“You have the world’s best teachers here and now you’re getting world class facilities,” Minister Littleproud told students at the project’s sod-turning ceremony on Thursday (11 February).

“It’ll be a bit of a journey for the next 12 months, but it will be worth it.”

Year Six students Chaylee Bruyn and Jayden Portener said they were very excited to hear the lower and upper campuses would be merging.

“It’s good because it means we get to know everyone,” said Chaylee.

“And we can help the little ones,” said Jayden.

The Federal Government has committed $4.5 million towards the project, which Minister Littleproud said will go towards creating new, modern learning spaces for teachers and students.

“The upgrades will mean kids won’t have to navigate between campuses which will save learning time and prevent safety risks,” he said.

“But it’s also about strengthening the school community.”

By the end of 2021, all students at the school’s lower campus will have moved to the upper campus.

The fate of the lower campus site is unknown at this stage but will be decided by St Mary’s Church.

As for the $10 million tunnel connecting the lower and upper campuses, Minister Littleproud said it will continue to be used by the school for travelling to and from church.

The St Mary’s upgrade project is one of 158 projects approved for funding under the Capital Grants Program to commence in 2021.