By Emma Sun
DOVETON will soon be home to a new super school and community hub.
Three schools in the surrounding area will begin to close from the end of next year and their students will be moved to the new college.
As well as the early childhood to year nine school the Doveton College site will also be home to community facilities including a performing arts centre, a health and wellbeing centre and a resource centre.
“It’s more than just a school,” school principal Brett New said, “it’s an integrated community hub for the people of Doveton.”
“We’ll run programs from 7am to 7pm and we’ll be open 50 weeks of the year.
He said the new college, which is being built on the site of the former Doveton Heights Primary School in Laural Avenue, will take students from Doveton and Eumemmerring Primary Schools and Endeavour Hills Secondary College.
“The schools in Doveton have been looking at revitalising education delivery in the area.
“Now that it’s a reality, there is great excitement and great anticipation, not only about the buildings, which are going to be state of the art centres for teaching and learning, but also the community facilities that will be associated with Doveton College.”
The college is expected to accommodate 900 students and 90 kindergarten children.
The early childhood learning and development centre will have three kindergarten rooms, consulting suites and community rooms.
The college will join with agencies in the Doveton and Dandenong area to offer a comprehensive range of early childhood services, ranging from maternal help to playgroups.
“We are hoping to have paediatricians, general practitioners and paediatric dental on-site,” Mr New said.
“There will be two maternal health consulting suites and we hope to be able to fit out at least one or two other consulting suites into clinical rooms.”
The college received $32 million of funding from the State and Federal Governments and the Colman Foundation, which donated $1.8 million towards the construction of the school and the early childhood services centre and will also contribute $500,000 each year, over at least eight years.
Julius Colman from the Colman Foundation said he and his wife wanted to help with the education of underprivileged children and thought Doveton would be the perfect place.
“My wife and I wanted to help in an area that was significantly underprivileged, with lots of migrants, refugees and indigenous Australian people so we looked at several areas and we fell in love with what we saw in Doveton,” Mr Colman said.
“The foundation is really excited by the potential of this school to make a difference.”
Mr New said it is an exciting and challenging time for everyone involved.
“We’re absolutely determined to achieve our goal and improve the learning, social and emotional outcomes and the health and wellbeing for children in Doveton and their families,” he said.
The early childhood and prep to Year 6 section of the college will open in January 2012 and Years 7-9 is expected to open January 2013.
By Emma Sun