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School maintenance blitz

FOUR Portland-region schools will receive $670,000 to complete maintenance and outdoor improvement works following an announcement from the state government.

Portland South Primary School is the biggest winner from the Minor Capital Works Fund allocation announced last week, receiving $500,000 to re-roof their senior school building, help prepare a new classroom for 2021 and reinstall toilets and fittings in the school’s second toilet block and.

“The Portland South Primary School community is ecstatic and very grateful,” principal Vicki Fisher said, adding that the school’s enrolment has grown, requiring their music room to become a classroom and then co-locating their computers and music in the one large room.

The shell of a former toilet block will be converted back to useable toilets for the school’s senior students, and critical roof replacement work completed over the school’s senior wing and library (the school’s rear building), she added.

“There are ongoing leaking issues, and there is a major leak in our library; we have to have the plumber here a lot which costs a lot of money out of our budget,” she said.

Portland Primary School is also the recipient of funding to replace an outdated roof, with principal Stephanie Carter “thrilled” that $84,000 had been allocated to re-roof the library and art room.

“We have had carpet damaged and a leak in the server room off the side of the library, and have had to have several things fixed as a result of the leaks in the past two years: this is very in need,” she said.

Portland primary will also benefit indirectly from $29,000 allocated to Portland Bay School, which it shares an oval with.

Bay school will manage the construction of a new permanent fence to replace the “cyclone” fence that remains on Henty St next to the oval, its principal Steve Crossley said.

They also hope to buy some garden beds that can be shifted with a pump trolley so they can be used for decoration and as temporary barriers to stop people driving onto the oval from the school’s carpark.

Meanwhile Bolwarra Primary School heeded the government’s call for schools to encourage children to be active and healthy, improving their happiness levels as they move on from the impacts of 2020.

“So we were looking at extending our play area to allow our kids to have fun and be active at school,” principal Lee Gibbons said.

The school would buy new play equipment with the funds, Mr Gibbons added, noting that they would workshop with the school community about what playground would be most suitable for them.

Minister for Education James Merlino said the $70 million to be spent on minor capital works across the state were “small but important projects that will make a big difference for schools and create jobs.”

“Whether it is upgrading toilets or building a new fence – this is all about making sure our students have the facilities they need,” he added.

Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney said the projects were expected to start early next year.

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