WISH LIST: Appeal for upgrades to Gracemere State School
WHILE CQ’s state election candidates have pushed hard for a high school in Gracemere, one candidate has identified a more pressing educational issue in need of attention.
Opening in 1871, Gracemere State School is Central Queensland’s oldest state school, evolving into a contemporary school with modern facilities catering for students from Prep to Year 6.
Unfortunately, the ravages of time have caught up with the educational institution according to Katter’s Australian Party candidate for Rockhampton Christian Shepherd, who recently visited the school.
“I met with the Vice Principal and P&C of Gracemere State School to discuss, among other things, the need for a high school at Gracemere,” Mr Shepherd said.
“While a high school is something that Gracemere requires in the near future, there are many other issues in Gracemere that need attention too.
“This school badly needs quite an extensive list of upgrades and refurbishments.”
In his conversations, Mr Shepherd discovered the school required improvements including new security gates and fences, administration/staffroom upgrades, additional classrooms for specialist lessons and intensive learning, a music room, a new amenities block, a sick room, a guidance counsellor’s office and a suitably designed special needs room.
Additionally, Mr Shepherd said the school needed updated/redesigned playgrounds, additional computer/device resources, beautification works and general maintenance, upgraded carpark and pick-up/drop-off points and a central bus point for the buses that congregate to pick-up and drop off Rockhampton High students.
Mr Shepherd admitted it was “quite a wishlist” but it was a reflection of the lack of facilities the school had been provided over several decades with parts of the school looking like “they were frozen in a time well before I was born”.
“The VP and P&C both stressed to me that while a high school would be great and kids in Gracemere deserve one, there’s no sense in neglecting the needs of these children for the first seven years of their schooling when they need a solid foundation in their education the most,” he said.
“Perhaps we shouldn’t start a new school until we look after the ones we already have.”
He noted the school was situated right next to the promised $35 million Lawrie St upgrade. “While I’m sure that will be a welcome change sometime in 2022, perhaps the State Government should look at more quick and easily achievable goals in the meantime.”
Rockhampton MP Barry O’Rourke said he was well aware of Gracemere’s State School’s priorities after having a “very fruitful meeting with the principal” a few weeks ago.
“We discussed the $35 million Lawrie St upgrade and how that would improve access for parents and staff,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“We also talked about the infrastructure priorities for the school going forward.
“I look forward to working with the Education Minister to ensure our local schools continue to secure funding for upgrades in the coming months.”
Education Minister Grace Grace said her government was committed to ensuring all students, no matter where they lived, had access to quality educational facilities within their local communities.
“That’s why we have invested $90 million across Central Queensland for new or improved facilities at existing schools in the past 12 months,” Ms Grace said.