The first stage of a major $27 million development at St Francis de Sales College in Mount Barker was unveiled with great fanfare on Friday 16 November.
The new $10.2 million Community Sports Centre includes four basketball courts of international standard, giving St Francis one of the most modern and impressive school sports facilities in South Australia.
Work is under way on the next stages of the development, which include a complete rebuilding of the Junior School and a new $2.5 million Catholic Early Care centre co-located on the college site.
“This capital development is one of the most significant ever undertaken by Catholic Education South Australia,” said CESA’s Director Dr Neil McGoran.
“It will provide improved opportunities for families in the Hills region to continue living and learning locally, knowing they will be supported by outstanding facilities and progressive approaches to learning.”
Funding support was received from the State Government and the Mount Barker District Council, and both the Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing, Hon Corey Wingard MP, and the Mayor of Mount Barker, Ann Ferguson, spoke at the opening.
The Administrator Delegate, Rev Fr Philip Marshall, also joined invited guests and excited staff, students and families and with the Parish Priest of Mt Barker, Fr Richard Morris, blessed the new Centre and crucifixes.
The new Centre has pride of place on the campus and will be a focus of activity for the college and the wider local community in the years ahead.
Principal Mr Gavin McGlaughlin said the facility had been greatly anticipated by the local community, as evidenced by the enthusiasm of the Eastern Hills Basketball Association and the Eastern Mavericks Basketball Club to sign on as anchor tenants.
“It is a really exciting development and we look forward to the opportunity of talking with other community organisations who may be interested in becoming a part of our extended family,” he said.
“We’re also looking ahead to the opening of our new Junior School in the second half of 2020. This design will prioritise spaces that inspire children and develop a sense of joy and wonder in their learning – spaces that promote collaboration and foster interdependence between learners.”
The redevelopment will expand the College’s Junior School capacity from 350 to 500 students. The new Catholic Early Care and Learning Centre will have space for 100 children aged from three to five.
Mount Barker is one of the fastest growing areas in South Australia, with the population in the Council area expected to rise from 33,006 in 2016 to 52,215 in 2036, an average annual increase of 2.19%.