EXCITING TIMES: Senior school captains Jarred Cullen and Greta Dunne and junior school captains Grace Howard and Jake Lipsys are thrilled to be able to walk through the soon-to-be science labs and gymnasium.
EXCITING TIMES: Senior school captains Jarred Cullen and Greta Dunne and junior school captains Grace Howard and Jake Lipsys are thrilled to be able to walk through the soon-to-be science labs and gymnasium. Zhanae Conway-Dodd

Phoenix rises from ashes for new CQ school subjects

IT'S a case of the phoenix rising from the ashes for Biloela State High School's new $3.05 million classroom block.

The development comes after a fire, deliberately lit by two 15-year-old males in October of 2016, caused irreparable damage to the the school's C Block, which housed science labs and a gymnasium.

After the fire tore through the high school, the Education Department provided relocatable and hire buildings for the students to learn in until construction on the new classrooms could begin.

In April this year, students and teachers began to see a light at the end of their makeshift classrooms as shovels hit the ground and the building began.

Central Queensland company J.M. Kelly Builders took on the contract, providing more than 100local jobs through the project, which is expected to be completed in the next three weeks.

The state-of-the-art facility will feature two science labs and preparation room, a gym, two offices and a staff workroom, as well as amenities and storage areas.

A covered outdoor learning area and walkway to connect the new building to the rest of the school will also be erected.

Earlier this week, Assistant Education Minister Brittany Lauga joined principal Helen Murry and the school captains in a walk-through of the construction site.

Ms Murry said running classes without permanent buildings had been difficult but it made the impending move into the new classrooms even more exciting.

"It was definitely a struggle at times not having the buildings, but the Education Department was fortunate enough to put in four demountable classrooms which assisted with our general learning spaces,” she said.

"Our science classes and faculty have just been rotating through the specialist classrooms that they need.

"But we are all very much looking forward to getting into these facilities and being able to use them to deliver the best outcomes we can for kids.”

Acting deputy principal and head of science and agriculture Tanya Roach said the science labs came just in time for the new curriculum, which ramps up next year.

"Year 7, 8, 9, 10 science is compulsory but by next year we will have five senior science subjects running,” she said.

"We have two new science subjects starting next year, including earth and environmental science and psychology. We will be getting some new gear for those subjects as well.

"So we haven't decided what lab will cater to which subject yet, but we tend to have a chemistry lab and a biology and physics lab.”

The science labs will feature practical stations around the outer area of the classroom and desks in the centre for general classroom work, plus a data wall and demonstration table for the teacher.

School captain Greta Dunne was among the many students excited to finally see the construction nearing an end after months of watching it transform from the ground up.

The Year 11 student said she knew many of her peers would benefit from the building.

"My classes don't directly relate to these buildings, but I know other students who do directly relate to the building and they are really excited to get in there and have a look around and discover a new learning environment,” Miss Dunne said.

"With the new Cert III in Fitness the gym will prove beneficial as students will have the experience of being able to use the equipment and then being able to transfer those skills over to a workplace, which will really expand horizons for them.”

The new gymnasium will be kitted out with all the latest equipment including treadmills, rowing machines, bikes, weights and CrossFit stations as a part of sport, recreation and fitness classes.

After touring around the building site and talking with those involved, MrsLauga was pleased to see construction well and truly under way.

"It's National Science Week this week and here we are talking about the future science classrooms and gym area for the students here,” she said.

"When we talk about the future and jobs in the future, we know that science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) is going to be so incredibly important for young people, so having a state-of-the-art classroom is a really important way of encouraging people to take up science and to set themselves up for the jobs of the future.”



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