Start set for school rebuild

CONSTRUCTION of the new $26 million Sorell School will start next month.

Fittingly, Australia’s oldest continually operating public school will start redevelopment in the 200th year of operation.

The bicentennial milestone will see onsite works start at the end of Term Three, in late September.

Construction company Fairbrother has been appointed the lead contractor.

School principal Jenny Cowling said building works would be staged to minimise disruptions.

“The building works will be staged to ensure our school can continue to operate, while ensuring the safety of students and their families and minimising the temporary impacts for staff and nearby businesses and residents,” Ms Cowling said.

“We will need to operate differently while the works are being carried out and we are communicating with our staff, parents, neighbours and the broader community to ensure everyone is aware of the temporary changes, which include the primary campus drop off and pick up areas, and parking arrangements.”

Mayor Kerry Vincent welcomed news of the start.

“The school rebuild has far reaching and positive outcomes for our community,’’ Mr Vincent said.

“It will grow confidence for our rapidly growing community that we have state-of-the-art education facilities for their children to access close to home.

“This will help the congestion on our busy road networks and will have flow on benefits to the rest of our community.

“The school has been designed to embrace spacious, green environments which the students, teachers and parents will greatly enjoy.

“We appreciate this job needs to be done in stages so the school can continue to operate effectively.

“I thank everyone for their contribution and patience. I look forward to seeing this exciting project begin.”

The redevelopment, which is expected to be completed by 2023, will deliver a combination of new buildings and refurbishment of existing facilities that provide state-of-the-art learning spaces for students from birth to Year 12.

Last year it was feared the project would be delayed as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.

A Parliamentary Public Works committee hearing heard that some electrical components were manufactured overseas making delays in delivery possible.

“But every effort is being made to obtain building components from within Australia,’’ then education minister Jeremy Rockliff said.

“The project is continuing to progress according to schedule with the build set to commence in mid2021 with expected completion by 2023.’’

Mr Rockliff said the new school would provide greater opportunities for future generations of students and young people in Sorell and the broader south-east region.

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