Garden funds announced

November 18, 2017

Jaclyn Symes talking to a student, Principal Barbara O'Brien and playground designer Francine Stacey

State Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes has announced funding for Benalla P-12 College to build a new playground and sensory garden.

Ms Symes visited the college’s Faithfull St campus last Wednesday and met with students and staff to discuss the $200000 development.

Ms Symes, a former pupil of what is now Benalla P-12 College, said she was excited about the ongoing development of the school.

‘‘The $8.5 million redevelopment of the senior building is commencing on this site, so it’s very exciting to see the demolition works happening,’’ Ms Symes said.

‘‘I’m here to announce today further funding for Benalla P-12 College in the form of $200000 for an all-abilities, inclusive play space.

‘‘What this is going to involve is a sensory garden and play equipment that is accessible for all students and especially those with disabilities.

‘‘It’s a brand new facility... This is going to be a playground predominately aimed at those in the years 5 to 9.

‘‘It’s been designed by a school council member, Francine Stacey, and it’s very exciting to be able to make sure the funding’s there to get the project off the ground,’’ Ms Symes said.

The new playground development will have to take its place in line as the campus is already undergoing development.

Work on the year 10/11/12 hub has already begun and the area earmarked for the playground will be used by contractors during construction.

Because of this, construction is planned to start during term four of this year.

Benalla P-12 College principal Ms Barbara O’Brien said the new playground was important as the school did not currently have anything suitable for middle-year kids.

‘‘This is a middle years campus, but it will eventually become a years 5 to 12 campus,’’ Ms O’Brien said.

‘‘Currently there is the junior play equipment, but for the rest of the school the things that probably entertain the students most are the basketball courts and the oval.

‘‘But as far as being inclusive of all students... We’re really quite devoid of that, so this is going to allow us to build an amazing middle years playground on quite a large area that will be inclusive of all children.

‘‘The sensory garden will also allow for students who require a quieter area or a space just to sit down and talk to each other.’’

The designer of the playground development, landscape architect and school board member Francine Stacey, said that students were part of the design process.

‘‘The inclusive play area is designed to have play equipment that can be used by all abilities,’’ she said.

‘‘The sensory garden is designed to have quiet space, but also areas that are designed and created by the kids as well.’’

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