GUNNEDAH’S GS Kidd Memorial School is to be completely redeveloped on a new site as part of an $80 million package for 16 schools for special purposes across NSW.
The Gunnedah school has scored about $3.5 million from the funding overrun from the former Building the Education Revolution (BER) program and after a deal struck between the federal Labor government and the state Coalition government.
The news came from federal minister Bill Shorten and state education minister Adrian Piccoli as they announced reallocated funding as part of the Primary Schools for the 21st Century element of the BER.
Nationals MP Kevin Anderson and acting New England regional director of education Ruythe Dufty outlined the news to GS Kidd staff yesterday and what the funding would mean.
Ms Dufty said the multi-million-dollar project would include state-of-the-art facilities for the school’s special needs students.
“We have been working with the school for a number of years looking at how we could get an upgrade but to have a brand new school on a greenfield site is wonderful news,” she said.
The current school on Stock Rd had old buildings that did not meet departmental standards, Ms Dufty said.
“There is a mix of demountable and transportable buildings and this funding will make way for a purpose-built facility for those with special needs,” she said.
Mr Anderson said the new school would provide four new classrooms, a new library, a new admin block and a new heated pool. He expects tenders to be called soon and hopes construction at the new Lincoln St site will begin before year’s end.
Mr Anderson said the design would be based broadly on the “good model” that was used for the Bullimbal school in Tamworth.
He said the site was essentially landlocked for future development and that was why the new property of about 5000 square metres had been obtained.
“P21 is the largest component of the BER providing funding to primary schools special schools and K-12 schools for the building or renewing of largescale infrastructure works. The GS Kidd Memorial School has been allocated funding on this basis,” he said.
Mr Anderson said the facilities were cramped, there was only one staff/teacher
toilet, and there really wasn’t room to move when the students wanted to play sport.
The two ministers described the program funding as a commonsense decision between the state and federal governments with Mr Shorten saying he was pleased to work with Mr Piccoli to reallocate residual government funds that were provided to NSW government schools, while ensuring the BER requirements were met.