St John's starts term with new look

Principal Donaugh Shirley (pictured) said the new format of the classrooms helps to improve the educational experience.
Principal Donaugh Shirley (pictured) said the new format of the classrooms helps to improve the educational experience. Alexia Austin

PREP students were not the only new addition at St John's Catholic school's start of term, with the institution unveiling its newly renovated classroom block and grounds on Monday.

The renovations, which were started mid 2017, included seven modern classrooms, a dance/drama studio, an AstroTurf 'breeze-way' for outdoor activities and a new school entrance.

St John's Catholic school principal, Donaugh Shirley, said the renovations couldn't have come at a better time.

"There was a huge need for these renovations, if we want our children to learn we have to have a good educational environment, gone are the days when you'd just put up with it.

"We decided at the beginning of last year to start the refurbishments, and they began in the July holidays. We bulldozed all the classrooms along the front and the year 5s had to be in demountables for six months while we improved the facilities.

"Local builder Brett Cherry was fantastic to work with, him and his crew have been unbelievable, as have the Aspect Architects from Toowoomba.

"We were a few weeks behind at one stage, but Brett caught up, allowing us to open the new facilities on the first day of this term.

"We wanted to make the main entrance to the school a statement. One little fellow said the other day, 'when I walked in here yesterday, I just felt like learning,' and that's what we wanted to create.

The new breeze-way, which replaced the bitumen play-yard.
The new breeze-way, which replaced the bitumen play-yard. Alexia Austin

Ms Shirley said although this phase of the project had been finished, the school was now looking forward to further expansions.

"We have filled the seven new classrooms now and we're looking to build again, to accommodate for the increase in numbers we are predicting next year,” Ms Shirley said.

"We normally have two year 7 classes, but next year we are planning to have three, which will mean we need more classrooms again.

"We are not just looking at the short term plan, but at the master plan, we don't want to build quickly, but instead make sure that everything fits together.

"I believe with the kindergarten opening in March, we will see that increase our enrolments, with parents coming to drop all their children at once.

"All I can say is it's great to be back and we are excited for all this year has to offer.”

Topics:  back to school new classrooms refurbishment st john's college

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