Community consultation among the school and wider community would be a key part of planning for a new Wee Waa High School, NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has affirmed.
And it looks increasingly likely that Wee Waa will have a new high school.
Ms Mitchell is currently investigating the future of Wee Waa High and a completely new school at a new site appears to be firming up as the favoured option.
Wee Waa High was closed at its original site late last year following cases of illness believed to be emanating from the site, but from a source as yet undetermined.
Investigation into the cause of the illnesses continues.
The Minister was adamant that Wee Waa would have a high school and the opportunity presented to build for the present and future needs of the school and wider community.
No decision has yet been made, Ms Mitchell said in an interview on ABC radio.
“However, things are certainly progressing.”
A project manager is doing ‘preliminary work’ and investigation is underway into a site, the Minister said.
“I think the most likely option we will go with is a new school, but we are just finalising that early planning before we can make that announcement.”
“Work involves identifying a site and planning how we can build a school quite quickly”, the Minister said.
The new build method could involve much of the construction being done off-site and brought to the new site.
“This means we can build these new buildings more quickly than the traditional build,” Ms Mitchell said.
“We are just working though our options so when we are ready to press ‘go’ we can get going on that site if that’s where we land.
“We think that’s the most likely scenario, we just need to pull a few more pieces together to make that happen.”
Ms Mitchell said a site opposite the Wee Waa Primary School was being considered, on Crown Land, and that would need to be brought into the possession of the Department of Education.
Those options are being explored and funding sorted followed by consultation within the community.
“We are treating this as new project which is going to come on line.
“There will be no ‘closure’ of the high school
“The Wee Waa community needs a high school, and that’s always been my view,” Ms Mitchell emphasised.
“A new build design would come into a consultation with the community.
“It would be a brand new, state-of -the-art school, but there would be community conversations around that.”
The unexpected situation which has forced the closure of the existing high school provided the opportunity look at the education needs of the community to build a new school for the future of Wee Waa including facilities for community use.
“There can be a silver lining in what has been a pretty tough experience for the community,” said Ms Mitchell.To order photos from this page click here