Mt Barker’s education network is set to grow following an announcement at one of the town’s residential developments.
Wynn Vale-based King’s Baptist Grammar School will build a $20 million early learning centre (ELC) to Year 12 campus at Burke Urban’s Newenham development on the corner of Bollen and Flaxley roads, with plans to open in 2021.
The school’s administration entered into an agreement with the developers and the Mt Barker Council to purchase 5ha of land on Bollen Road to build a campus and a church community centre with shared use of the active recreation reserve adjacent to the site.
King’s Baptist principal Russell Eley said they had been approached by the Mt Barker Baptist Church about building a campus in the town and this development presented that opportunity for them.
“We looked at four potential sites for the Mt Barker campus that were all quite different and the Bollen Road spot stood out about the rest” he said.
“The proximity to the freeway entrances and exists and just how close it is to the town centre was so appealing to us, so we’re thrilled to get this going.
It is currently planned for the ELC to Year 2 section to open in 2021, and further years would be added annually.
While an exciting time, Mr Eley said there was still a long process before construction and he was focussing on the short-term.
“We need to register as a learning centre and get that all done as well as work with Burke Urban and the council to make sure the campus meets everybody’s needs” he said.
“The project is certainly going to require a lot of attention”.
Mt Barker Mayor Ann Ferguson said the location had been previously identified in the Mt Barker Growth Plan as being ideal for a school.
“This school will provide further diversity of education options, increasing choice for our community,” she said.
“It will also enable the pursuit of a strategic partnership approach to the use of the adjacent Council-owned land which has been purchased for future development of community recreational facilities.”
Mt Eley said that, while it was several years away, he could not wait for the school to be a part of the town.
“Mt Barker is such a vibrant growing community and I think there are great things happening there,” he said.
“This will be a great move for our school.”
An after school care program is also included in the plan.
Once completed, it will be the eighth school in the Mt Barker town limits.
The development is expected to create up to 100 new teaching jobs over 30 years and another 275 jobs during construction.
Enrolment applications will be open in 2019.
Article written by Nick Grimm, The Courier.
Appeared in The Courier on 14 February 2018.
Photo caption: Launching the new school site for Mt Barker was Cameron Hawke, left, from the Baptist Churches of SA, Mayor Ann Ferguson, Kym Burke from Burke Urban (Newenham) and Russell Eley, principal of King’s Baptist Grammar School at Wynn Vale.
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