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 and Learning 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 to thrive, learn and lead locally, supported by progressive approaches to Catholic education and outstanding facilities.”
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 Adelaide Archdiocese’s Administrator Delegate, Fr Philip Marshall, also joined invited guests and staff, students and families and with the parish priest of Mt Barker, Fr Richard Morris, blessed the new centre and crucifixes.
The community sports centre will be a focus of activity for the college and the wider local community in the years ahead.
Principal 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 Catholic Early Care and Learning Centre will have space for 100 children aged from three to five.
Mt Barker is 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%.
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