Ardmona PS celebrates new school building

By Ashlea Witoslawski

After three long years, the Ardmona Primary School community has welcomed the completion of restoration works on their heritage building.

A pillar of the school since about 1875, the upgrade works were celebrated by families, past school teachers and community organisations at a special ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday afternoon.

Education minister James Merlino, Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp and City of Greater Shepparton mayor Kim O’Keeffe were led through the new rooms by Ardmona PS principal Jean Varty.

Ms Varty was delighted to have several new rooms available for the teaching staff and students, after the building was deemed virtually unusable by the Victorian School Building Authority due to concerns about structural integrity.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable that we’ve actually hit this outcome,” she said.

The upgrades include a new utility room complete with a kitchen, a staff room, a senior room for Grade 5 and 6 students, an assembly area as well as an outdoor learning space.

“We’re just super pleased with the outcome,” Ms Varty said.

“It’s been a great morale boost not only around the school environment but for Ardmona as a community for which we are so very, very proud.”

The $631 592 redevelopment began on the school’s historic building in April this year, which included new floor finishes, doors to a flexible classroom, wall and ceiling linings, and replacement of damaged weatherboards as well as modernisation, with a fresh coat of paint to brighten both indoor and outdoor spaces

Ardmona Primary School's heritage building has been completely restored as part of the works.

Mr Merlino was delighted to see the finished works and the opportunity to celebrate with the local community.

“Today is a celebration,” he said.

“When we were here last time you could see the exposed timber in the roof, it was a big, big job.”

Mr Merlino said the renovations undertaken by Melbourne construction company Bowden Corporation embraced the heritage of the building while creating a modern learning space.

“I just think they’ve done a great job in transforming that space."

Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp, Minister for Education James Merlino, Ardmona PS principal Jean Varty, City of Greater Shepparton mayor Kim O’Keeffe with students Samuel Ponting, Foundation, and Jamie-Lea Lummas, Year 4.