Horsham College funding: the first step

HORSHAM College council president Rowan Smith believes a $10-million commitment from the State Government is the first step towards redeveloping the school.

Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty announced on Wednesday the college would receive money in the state budget on May 6.

The college has missed out on funding in the past five state and federal budgets despite community, Horsham Rural City Council, Business Horsham and Wimmera Development Association support for the project.

The money is half of the college's proposed $20-million redevelopment.

Mr Smith said the money would fund stage one.

"The thing to do now is plan," he said.

"We have to work out plans for the construction of new buildings and how to logistically make it work without compromising the quality of education."

Of the total, $7.5 million will replace the school's mathematics block, humanities and administration block and toilet block in the middle school.

A further $2.5 million would be for improvement across the school, determined by the school council.

Mr Smith said the long-term view was still a $20-million overhaul.

" This is the first step in getting us down that path," he said.

"Our long-term plan is to consolidate the school onto the old technical school site that is still our vision."

Mr Smith said a school council sub-committee would determine how the $2.5 million would be spent.

"It will be targeted through the grounds facility committee and it will be a major task during the next 12 months to identify projects," he said.

"We need to work out strategically how that money will be best used and what areas need attention.

"We haven't nutted that out yet but our priority is to target areas that will allow us to get the best value for money."

Mr Smith said the planning process would start as soon as possible.

"As soon as the money becomes available, we will be putting rubber to the road," he said.

Some buildings at the college date back to the 1950s, while others have cracked walls, broken windows and have been riddled with white ants. Many ceilings are propped up to prevent collapse. The library was gutted by fire three years ago.

Mr Smith said the money was a great announcement for the college.

"It is the first step to improving our infrastructure, to bring it in line with the quality of education we deliver," he said.

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