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Local school boost

Wednesday, 3rd March, 2021

Burke Ward’s School oval, also known as Siebler Park is set to undergo some major upgrades. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson Burke Ward’s School oval, also known as Siebler Park is set to undergo some major upgrades. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson

By Emily Ferguson

Three local schools are set to benefit from the NSW Government’s Regional Renewal Program, with $6 million in funding allocated to 23 schools within the Barwon Electorate. 

NSW Nationals Upper House MP Sam Farraway welcomed the news and said it was part of their commitment to build a safer and stronger regional NSW. 

“Ensuring regional students can thrive in a great learning environment, no matter their postcode is a vital piece in achieving this,” he said. 

“Delivery of these projects will be undertaken in the next 18 months as part of the NSW Government’s economic stimulus package for NSW schools.” 

Burke Ward Public School is one local school that applied for the Renewal Program and are set to receive $937,027 to complete their chosen upgrades. 

Burke Ward Principal Kate Hogg said it is amazing to have upwards of $900,000 allocated to the school to properly redo Siebler Park. 

“We saw it as a great opportunity to be able to do something with the oval that we wouldn’t have been able to do by ourselves, without help,” she said.

“We are starting from scratch again with Siebler Park, so top soil taken off, new watering systems put in under watering systems, the new turf laid and potentially some new fences as well to go around the oval. 

“We use the oval as a school generally, for PE (Physical Education) lessons, sport and we hope eventually to be able to then go over at lunch times.

“It’s just another space to have because we are quite heavily concreate dominant, as are most schools in town so it would just be a fantastic green space. 

“And hopefully as well we’ll be able to open it up to community groups who may like to use the space as well.

“It’s very exciting and we’re hoping it will be completed within 18 months.” 

Broken Hill High School also received a large sum of funding, with $931,457 shared with the school to upgrade their outdoor sports courts and provide more shade. 

Principal, Ross Mackay said these upgrades have been a long time coming and he can’t wait to finally see it all get underway. 

“Since I started here in 2017 through negotiations with the SRC, PNC and school consultation we’ve been planning for and working on ways we can improve the amount of shade in the school,” he said.

“One of the proposals, we had a little while back was to put a shade shelter or covered outdoor learning area over the F Quad courts and to resurface it to make it a bit more suitable for sporting activities and playground use.”

Mr Mackay said there are numerous ways this upgrade will benefit the school.

“It will provide additional shade through hot months, a bit of protection from the cold as well, keep the wind out a little bit and provide a nice smooth playing surface where kids can be involved in outdoor basketball and netball.

“As well as provide a covered area that we may be able to use during inclement weather for assemblies and also provide a sporting area so the kids can participate in sporting activities outside of the sun and the school can be a sun safe environment.”

He hopes to have work on the courts begin as soon as possible.

“Ideally I’d like to have it up and running by May which is when we have our centenary celebrations which were carried over from last year but I can’t see that happening to so I’m hoping they get the construction started well before the end of the year.”

Menindee Central School were also successful in their application for funding, receiving a total of $156,000 for their upgrade project. 

The Menindee Central School Principal was unavailable for comment. 

The Regional Renewal Program will provide a government co-contribution of between 50 to 80 percent for school infrastructure improvements to high priority schools in regional NSW. 

Projects may include new and upgraded covered outdoor learning areas, science facilities, toilet blocks, administration buildings and canteens.

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