CONSTRUCTION work on the new $120 million Armidale Secondary College is well underway and on track Education Minister Sarah Mitchell was told last Friday afternoon during her inspection of the site with Local State MP Adam Marshall.
Mr Marshall invited the new Minister to visit Armidale and tour the site, which is the largest education building project in country NSW and the largest in the region’s history.
The pair also visited three local primary schools – Sandon, Ben Venue and Armidale City – before touring the Armidale Secondary College site.
Demolition of all the former Armidale High School campus buildings is almost complete and the original central heritage building, constructed in 1922, is being refurbished to become as the centrepiece of the new school.
Mr Marshall said work was on track and would be completed in time for the official opening on the first day of Term 1 in 2021.
“Armidale Secondary College will usher in a new era for education in Armidale and country NSW, with the school featuring innovative technology and flexible learning spaces that can be adapted for different subjects,” Mr Marshall said.
“It will be a school like no other ever seen before in country NSW and will completely change the way people look and think about education delivery in secondary schools, regardless of sector.
“The facilities will be second-to-none anywhere in the State and the school will set a new benchmark for others to follow for how schools should be designed and operate.”
Mr Marshall said there would be greater resources available for students and staff and more subject choices, especially for Stage 6 (Years 11 and 12) than had ever been offered by any school in Armidale or the entire region.
The new campus, being built on the existing 18-hectare Armidale High School site, will cater for up to 1,500 students and deliver new school buildings with 79 new air-conditioned classrooms equipped with the latest technology, specialised spaces for industrial arts, hospitality and agricultural studies and improved performing arts and sports facilities.
Mr Marshall said the school would be home to a state-of-the-art ‘smart farm’ allowing students to learn from the latest agricultural technologies and methods in a purpose-designed indoor and outdoor learning area.
“Education and agriculture are both pillars of our local community which is why I am so proud to be delivering to our students a terrific new learning environment that offers the very best of both,” Mr Marshall said.
The contract for the demolition and construction work was awarded last year to Richard Crookes Constructions, which is currently undertaking the $60 million redevelopment of Inverell Hospital and has previously completed the $16 million Moree East Public School, as well as the redevelopment of Armidale Hospital.
“The company has a proven track record in our region for delivering quality work and employing local tradies and contractors onsite,” Mr Marshall said.
“I want to ensure as much of the $117 million for the new school stays in the local economy and to that end, I am pleased that 20 per cent of the project workforce will also be apprentices.”
Mr Marshall said the new school will be a key part of the Armidale community and its educational future.
“I look forward to seeing this outstanding project move forward, with students benefiting from a terrific new learning environment,” Mr Marshall said.
“The existing heritage building has been the preserved and is currently being enhanced to be the centrepiece of the new school, maintaining a tangible link to the past and The Den will be retained, expanded and upgraded to a first-class three-court indoor facility.”
Ms Mitchell said the Armidale Secondary College was a perfect example of the NSW Government building on the state’s world-class education system so students are ready for the jobs of the future.
“This project is proof that the NSW Government is getting on with the job of delivering a record $6.5 billion investment in school building,” Ms Mitchell.
“I am thrilled that students at Armidale Secondary College will to top-quality facilities and education resources that will set them up for the future.”
Designs are still being finalised on the new 425-seat performing arts centre, to be built on the school site.
Further information is now available at www.armidalefutureschool.com.au