The start of term three has bought with it the early stages of our $ 8 million building program, consisting of a new Performing Arts Centre and a doubling of the size of our current indoor sports stadium. At the moment we have two cleared pieces of land which by the end of erm three next year will be fully operational, providing our community the opportunity to engage in state-of-the-art facilities.
These two separate spaces will ensure that the significant demand we see at Galen Catholic College for our physical education, outdoor education, drama and music programs will not only be met, but staff given the opportunity to engage with our students at a deeper level providing learning opportunities that are seldom seen in regional secondary schools.
When I first saw the plans this earlier this year, I did not immediately focus what the buildings were primarily designed for. Whilst as a community we have significant opportunities for physical and outdoor educations, sports, as well as drama and music classes from Year 7 to Year 12 including VCE and VET. What I first saw was an opportunity for the whole school community to come together as one. My experience of the past eight years in leading another school in our region which had a facility for up to 1400 people to gather, highlighted the importance of creating a space we a school community can gather to celebrate who we are, to come together in times of challenge and to engage in growing the community to be the best version of itself.
When we develop learning spaces, we look to see how they can be flexibly used. These facilities need to be used every minute, of every day. They are designed to engage students and staff, to not just compliment learning and teaching, but to inspire students and staff to get the most out of their gifts and talents. These facilities can be and will be utilised by all staff and students who believe their learning opportunities are best suited to be delivered in these spaces.
The past two and half years have made it incredibly difficult for students, staff and families to gather and interact to further develop our relationships. In the first half of this year our assemblies have been conducted outside under our dome or on line. Both these new facilities will allow us to gather and engage in school activities such as Discovery Nights, Junior and Senior School Productions, whole school assemblies and multiple sport activities at the one time. But I believe this ability for us to come together and continue to complete activities that allow us to engage face to face, all year round in one space, will make us a tighter, more connected community. This also includes our families as the new sports stadium will have the capacity to bring our families into a space, where they too can fully experience the opportunities, we offer with our student body.
The first event the new Performing Arts Centre will host in 2023 will be the Junior School Production. College productions at Galen Catholic College have been a hallmark of our community and as a result we regularly have large numbers of students participating in this pathway. This facility will also support our House Leaders, providing them will a more intimate space to engage with all the staff and students aligned to their House community, further developing the House identity.
The Performing Arts Centre also provides us with the opportunity for staff professional learning, staff meetings and as well a regional hub for educators to come together with students from other regional schools. Importantly these facilities will not be just for school use only. We see these facilities as being a part of the extended Wangaratta community and we will explore with local organisations and groups how the facilities can be utilised so that they are not just a 9am – 4pm, 5 days a week facility.
For the moment, I need to be content dreaming of what will be, wondering what will our first production be, how many sports activities can we hold in the stadium at one time or who will be a key note presenter at our first professional learning day late in 2023. Hopefully the rain will stay away for a few more days so that our cleared siters do not sudden convert into outdoor swimming pools.