Morwell’s modern schooling marvel

The long-awaited merger of three Morwell primary schools is nearing completion after about a decade of hard work.

Plaster is going up, painting is underway and electrical works have begun on the $10.45 million McDonald Street development, where Commercial Road, Tobruk Street and Crinigan Road primary schools will merge as a single Morwell primary school.

The Express first reported the schools were considering a merger in 2006, however; funding was not secured until last year.

The school is due for completion in December with classes to begin next year.

The state-of-the-art education facility will house about 450 students in a 16 open-plan classroom environment situated within four central learning hubs.

The project has the backing of the respective schools’ three principals, who say the aim is to provide 21st century learning in a facility designed for modern teaching practices.

“Each learning hub has direct connection to an outdoor learning courtyard and is designed to support and encourage interaction between students and teachers in a dynamic, safe and rich environment,” Commercial Road principal Justine Smyth said.

The school, designed by Melbourne architects ClarkeHopkinsClarke, will feature administration facilities and offices, as well as consultation and conference rooms.

The school will also use a $4 million performing arts centre constructed onsite in 2012.

The centre was built with the intent of having music and performing arts incorporated as part of the school’s curriculum.

An upgraded gymnasium and purpose-built canteen and technology room are also under construction.

Ms Smyth said staff members from the three schools met weekly to establish cohesive curriculum practices.

An independent consultant and interim school council have also been engaged to assist the development of a united school vision, with its initial focus on choosing a permanent school name, logo and uniform.

Morwell Central Primary School is one name being thrown in the ring, but the Department of Education told The Express it was yet to be formalised.

While the merger is highly anticipated by the local community, concerns have been raised regarding the impact it would have on the remaining Morwell public school, Morwell Park Primary School.

But the Vary Street school is set to be upgraded, with construction of a $7.8 million redevelopment to begin in July.

Remaining as a stand alone primary school, Morwell Park’s upgrade will include the construction of an entirely new building, which will replace the current administration wing.

Principal Christopher Joustra said plans included six new “learning communities”, each supporting teacher facilities, providing individual student learning in a “dynamic, personable and interactive environment”.

The new facility will include specialist learning spaces for art, craft and experimental learning, as well as administrative facilities incorporating offices and conference rooms.

The existing brick building will be demolished, making way for a sports field and courts while other site works include the refurbishment of a games hall, construction of a canteen, music facility and student amenities.

The project also includes the establishment of active play areas to create a “safe and welcoming environment”.

Works are expected to be completed early next year with minimal impact on classes.

Member for Morwell Russell Northe described the two projects as positive outcomes for the Morwell community.

“I’m a firm believer if you have new and modern facilities this can lead to better outcomes,” Mr Northe said.

Enrolments are now being taken for 2017 at the Morwell central primary school, along with Morwell Park Primary School. For enrolments at Morwell Park, phone the school on 5134 1793.

To enrol at the central primary school, phone either Commercial Road Primary on 5134 2329, Morwell Primary on 5134 2886 or Tobruk Street Primary on 5134 2517.