School dream becomes reality

March 09, 2018

Students listen attentively for their first lesson in the new school

ALL good things come to those who wait.

When Echuca’s newest school swung its doors open for the first time last month, after almost a decade of tireless working behind the scenes, that saying was never more true.

What began as a dream in 2009 materialised itself in the smiling faces of staff, students and parents as they laid eyes on the completed stage one of Echuca Twin Rivers School.

Echuca South and West have officially moved in and Echuca Specialist School is patiently awaiting funding for stage two so they can make the move into the modern precinct.

The first stage of the school includes purpose-built learning areas, an administration space, oval, café and a playground space.

The café will be run by the specialist school as a small business as part of its curriculum.

Stage two will feature a new gymnasium and additional classroom space, while the site’s master plan has allocated space for a possible future early learning centre.

There will also be space allocated for an indoor and outdoor stage for performances.

Technology will take centre stage in the new school, with the modern design incorporating iPads and laptops.

The colour design of the school is based on the Western Plains-Wanderer bird, a native to the Riverina region of NSW.

Lead architect Robert Bienvenu said the design featured three main boomerang-shaped buildings.

He said the buildings were practical learning spaces and doubled as a tribute to the traditional owners of the land.

And the new uniforms have gone down a treat with students, thanks to generous donations from the local community.

The predominantly navy blue outfits with burnt orange panels (which represents inclusion from One & All and the Specialist School— and trims were a joint effort by the school’s parents and friend’s committee, Moama RSL and Moama Bowling Club.

The parents and friend’s committee supplied the shirts, the bowling club purchased hats and the RSL donated money for sport uniforms.

Co-principal Karl Stenning said the new school was about 21st century education and learning.

“We want to accommodate the growth Echuca is seeing. The new school will compliment that growth and allow it to continue,” he said.

“As the town grows it makes sense for the education system to grow with it.”

Co-principal Andrew Judd said the design accommodated the specialist school and incorporated them into the wider community.

“The design caters for a variety of learning needs in a flexible learning environment,” he said.

“It lets children learn their way. There are different types of desks, standing tables and learning pods.

“It’s all about flexible learning and moving away from the traditional learning methods. The design of the school will allow teachers and students to collaborate.

“You couldn’t do that in the old schools because we didn’t have the open plan design.”

Mr Stenning said the school was keen to get everyone settled in the new building and looked forward to a funding announcement for stage two.

“The feedback from all parties has been fantastic and it’s great to see the conversations we had back in 2009 finally materialise,” he said.

“The specialist school have always been involved in the design and we can’t wait to secure more funding and have them join us.

“The three old schools are worn out and in need of a lot of repair. The students and staff needed new facilities and we’re all very thankful that we are making that dream a reality.”

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