August 5, 2009

21CN: Australian Government Grants A$100 Million to Adventist Schools

Australian Government Grants
A$100 Million to Adventist Schools

capAdventist schools in Australia have received more than A$100 million (about US$83 million) as part of the Australian government’s education modernization program.

“It has been an unbelievable bonus that has come to the school system,” says John Hammond, director of Adventist Schools Australia for the Australian Union Conference. “It is a large amount of money and we’re very happy that we have been able to assist the government in spending that money.”

Adventist schools in Australia are using the money to fund a number of projects, including building libraries, learning centers and multipurpose centers, refurbishing existing areas, as well as a variety of landscaping and repair work.

New construction commences at Mountain View Adventist College in western Sydney, New South Wales
[Photo: SPD Record]

“Our schools are growing and do not have assembly areas, multipurpose centers, sports stadiums or a place to do dramas. These are all ‘bits’ that we plan to ‘put on later,’” says Hammond. “The extra funding has given the school system such a push forward.”

The three-year, A$14.7 billion Building the Education Revolution (BER) project—part of the Australian government’s economic stimulus strategy—will benefit all 9,540 state and private schools in the country.

The BER consists of three elements, which are “Primary Schools for the 21st Century” (PS21) providing A$12.4 billion in funding for all Australian primary schools, Kindergarten–Year 12 schools and special schools to build new facilities or upgrade existing ones; A$1 billion for “Science and Language Centers for 21st Century Secondary Schools”; and A$1.288 billion for the “National school pride”(NSP) program, which will fund minor capital works and maintenance projects. Under the NSP program, individual schools will be eligible to receive up to A$200,000 for maintenance and building works.

There are 55 Adventist schools in Australia with a total enrollment of more than 11,000 students.

In the South Queensland Conference, projects to be undertaken include a sports auditorium and library extension to the cost of A$3 million at Northpine Christian College; new prep classrooms, and refurbishment of the library and primary classrooms at Brisbane Adventist College; and new libraries for Noosa Christian College, Gold Coast Christian School, Darling Downs Christian School, Coral Coast Christian School, and Ipswich Adventist School.

All schools will also be receiving further funding to cover a range of smaller projects. In the Western Australian Conference, projects include the refurbishment of the Carmel Adventist College (Secondary) library and the extension of the pre-primary playground at Riverside Community School as part of NSP. As part of PS21, new libraries will be constructed for Brookdale Adventist School and Esperence Christian Primary School.

Carmel Secondary is also planning to submit a proposal for a science and language center, according to Hammond. Avondale School in the North New South Wales Conference will build a new primary library/learning centre to replace their current library. Macquarie College will also build a new library, as will the Port Macquarie Adventist School. Kempsey Adventist School will replace some of their temporary classrooms with permanent structures with the funding they receive.

Prescott Primary Northern in South Australia has been successful in obtaining a grant of A$2.5 million, which will enable the school to build an information technology centre and four additional classrooms.

The Greater Sydney and South New South Wales Conferences will also see work conducted at a number of schools, with a variety of maintenance projects scheduled. New buildings will be constructed at a number of schools, with refurbishment of existing structures also planned.    

                                                                                                                                                     —Melody Tan/AMN staff

Used with permission of the South Pacific Division Record