Amalgamation dream inches closer for Sale College

Speaking to the Gippsland Times yesterday morning, Sale College deputy principal Jake Shingles and Guthridge campus captains Eloise Nottle, Aiden Martin, Rebecca and Abbie Harrington were thrilled at the announcement of funding for a campus amalgamation plan. Photo: Sarah Luke

THE state government has allocated $3 million in the state budget towards the consolidation of Sale College.

Sale College has been seeking to consolidate its two campuses for some time.

Last year, it stepped up its campaign for a single campus, earmarking a greenfield site near the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex.

Eastern Victoria MLC Jane Garrett confirmed the funding for planning and early works during a visit to the school’s Macalister campus last week.

“We know we need to upgrade Sale College – and this is the first step in making that happen,” Ms Garrett said.

Sale College has more than 800 students, with year seven to nine students currently attending the junior campus on Guthridge Parade, and Years 10 to 12 on the senior campus at the corner of York and Macalister Sts.

The school is concerned it may struggle to cope with an increasing student population under current arrangements.

On the ground, Sale College deputy principal Jake Shingles said there was a buzz around the school following the announcement.

“From the staff perspective, there’s a level of excitement,” he said.

“There’s probably been a few of us that have been here for nearly a decade who thought that it wouldn’t happen at all.

“As far as the detail’s gone that it’s part of the master plan – there’s no promises beyond that just yet – it’s still something that a few of us are really excited about.”

Mr Shingles said limitations currently posed by the two campuses included staff across both campuses needing to travel during recess and lunch to get to classes on time.

“Although on face value they seem really simple, they can leave some teachers feeling as though they don’t have a home, when in fact they have two homes,” he said.

Mr Shingles, who was a student at Guthridge Campus from 1997 to 1999, said a lot of the buildings were still the same as when he attended.

“The students and the staff within the four walls of Sale College know what we do, and what we do really well – and that is provide an education for everyone, regardless of their position within the community – and to be able to do it on one site that is a welcoming place, it’s going to be a whole lot easier to build school pride.”

“It definitely is an older school – it’ll be good to get an upgrade – I reckon it will help the community grow,” Guthridge campus captain Aiden Martin added.

Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien said a master plan would help the school and Sale community work out where and how to rebuild the school.

“The school has great difficulty delivering secondary education across two campuses, and there are options to consolidate onto the Guthridge Campus or a new greenfield site,” he said.

“This funding will help us consult the community on the best option and also identify the facilities the school needs for the 21st century.

“I’m passionate about ensuring our local kids get a good education from public schools and getting the bricks and mortar right is a big part of that.

“This is the first step in the process to deliver quality, modern facilities for state secondary students in Sale and district.”

Mr O’Brien thanked Wellington Shire Council, the Committee for Wellington and many community members for their support of the campaign.

“College principal Brendan Staple has also been dogged in his determination to deliver a better school for his students and staff,” he added.

Mr O’Brien said it was important the state government provided details on how the funding would be used.