Labor has also promised $5 million for Portarlington Primary if it wins November's state election.
Geelong High Principal Glen Davis shows the damage caused by heavy rain to the dilapidated school’s library. PIC: Peter Ristevski. Source: News Corp Australia
GEELONG High School will receive a guaranteed upgrade to its dilapidated buildings, with the State Government set to announce $20 million in funding for infrastructure works today.
The pledge comes on the back of last week’s pre-election $12 million committment from the Opposition, and follows years of hard-fought campaigning for desperately needed refurbishments.
The Geelong Advertiser understands the Coalition will hand over $8.5 million in this year’s state budget for stage one of the project, which includes repairing leaky roofs, adding a storey to the Kroger building, improving sporting facilities, upgrades to arts and hospitality wings, other classrooms, offices and toilets.
The remaining $11.5 million is expected to be allocated in future budgets.
The century old school was in 2011 ranked the region’s most run-down and regularly floods, with sandbags sometimes used to prevent damage.
Asbestos, crumbling walls and ceilings, and compromised disability access are among other issues highlighted in the Geelong Advertiser since 2010.
A masterplan for a $20 million redevelopment was created in the same year, but repeated pleas to fund the project had until now fallen on deaf ears.
Geelong High principal Glenn Davey had last week urged the Government to match the Opposition’s pledge, saying the quest for financial aid had been “frustrating” and that staff and students deserved top-class facilities.
“We have fantastic, dedicated teachers and we’re seen as a desirable school, so you can imagine if we had the resources and facilities to match we would be really flourishing,” he said.
Education funding looms as a key election issue in Geelong, with Bellarine Labor MP Lisa Neville this week announcing a $5.5 million promise to rebuild the rundown but historic Portarlington Primary School if her party wins the November 29 poll.
A damning 2013 Auditor-Generals report pointed out government schools in the Barwon South West region required an average of $725,000 to bring buildings up to “operational” standard. The figure is more than double that required in an other region statewide.