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Mount Barker redevelopment connects with environment


The $13.7 million St Francis de Sales College and Alive Mount Barker Catholic Early Learning to Year 6 Learning Communities were officially opened last month.

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The redevelopment expands the Junior School capacity for Reception to Year 6 students, with Alive Catholic Early Learning Centre for children aged six months to five years.

Principal Gavin McGlaughlin said the facilities have been designed to deliver the most outstanding learning opportunities for students and provide a seamless connection between indoor and outdoor learning environments.

“We have created facilities that not only connect young people to the variety of ways of learning, but also connect to our beautiful natural environment and local community,” he said.

The development has transformed the site to produce four new learning communities – Early Learning/Reception; Year 1 and 2; Year 3 and 4; and Year 5 and 6. These four buildings are surrounded by nature play and nature based learning spaces that utilise the college’s outstanding location in the beautiful Adelaide Hills environment.

“It was a delight to see the excitement on the faces of our students and teachers as they entered the new facilities for the first time,” Mr McGlaughlin said.

“It reminds us why we set out to deliver spaces that enable all students to successfully engage in their learning and development.”

Archbishop Patrick O’Regan blessed the new facilities at the April 29 event, which was attended by invited guests, staff and students, and Mt Barker and Strathalbyn parish priest, Fr Richard Morris.

In recognition of funding support received from the Federal Government’s Capital Grants Program and Catholic Education South Australia, both SA Senator Andrew McLachlan CSC and CESA director Dr Neil McGoran unveiled commemorative plaques.

Mr McGlaughlin expressed his gratitude to all involved in the project, including the Federal Government’s Department of Education, Skills and Employment, the South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools, CESA, Catholic Early Years Services, Brown Falconer Architects and the secondary consultants, Rider Levett Bucknall Quantity Surveying, BADGE Constructions and past and present staff, students and friends of the college.

“This is a very significant time for our community, and we are thrilled to see our new learning environments provide such amazing opportunities to develop our students’ creativity, critical thinking and problem solving skills, today and for many years to come,”
Mr McGlaughlin said.

The opening of the facilities comes two years after the college’s $10.5 million Community Sports Centre was completed and opened in November 2018.


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