30 Nov 2012

Great Ryrie Primary School – Building the Education Revolution

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Mr SYMON (Deakin) (09:39  Wednesday 31 October 2012): On 24 August this year, I had the great pleasure of officially opening the new sports and performance centre at Great Ryrie Primary School in my electorate of Deakin. Great Ryrie Primary School is a very large primary school with over 550 students. It services both Heathmont and Ringwood and is growing, as many schools in my electorate are. This particular BER facility took rather a long time to come about and that was due to some unusual circumstances. The results, in the end, speak for themselves, but there is a story to be told about why it has taken the time it has to be completed.

I first visited the school back in March 2009 to talk with the principal, Doug Elliot, about what the Building the Education Revolution funding for the school could mean. We discussed what could be done, how it could be done and whether the school should go for the Victorian government template building or do their own design. After much deliberation, the school decided to pursue their own design. But then problems started with the proposed location for the building. Unfortunately, it was found that the soil was not suitable on the chosen site for the building—there were old watercourses and various other things running under the school grounds which had not been mapped. That meant that there were substantial delays before a site on the school grounds was found where a building could be built and remain stable over many decades. Eventually that did happen, so this year we got to the point where the school did get to open its brand-new building.

On the day, I was welcomed by the school captains, Jakob Rhodes and Amber Lawndee, and the school vice captains, Ben Holland and Freya Scott. They, along with principal Doug Elliot, showed me around the new facility. They showed me what they could do not only with their new space, in which they can hold indoor assemblies or sports or music performances, but also with the extra rooms that came with the new centre. Among other things, these extra rooms now allow their music teacher to teach students learning different instruments in separate rooms, instead of having to teach them in the same room at the same time—not a good learning experience for anyone.

The school received $2.6 million for this fantastic new facility and they have made use of every single cent of it. It is a great result for our local community which will stand the test of time. Architecturally designed, it opens out onto the oval, allowing it to be used as either an indoor or an outdoor performance centre. It is not unique. There are other similar buildings in my electorate where the design has gone outside the template. But it is a great example of what can be done when the federal government puts money into our local schools. I am sure the new building will stand the test of time and that it will be there for everyone to see for many years to come.

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