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Fast-growing school faces battle for much-needed new hall

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Fast-growing school faces battle for much-needed new hall

Coolum State High School is looking for help with its fundraising efforts.

The desperate needs of a rapidly growing school is falling on “deaf ears” after five years of seeking state government funding.

Coolum State High School has experienced a spike in enrolments since 2016, subsequently outgrowing the current hall for full school events.

To hold a school assembly is now impossible, and with the estimated hall cost at $10.5 million, Coolum SHS has been left with no other option than to start its own fundraising campaign.

Coolum SHS Parents and Citizens Association treasurer Andrew Gorman says the current enrolment number is 1437, a jump from 800 students five
years ago.

“The school has just outgrown itself – that is the big problem,” Mr Gorman says.

“We have this issue; we can’t hold all of the school for assembly at the moment in the current hall.

“They have a hall there, which is a combined basketball court and gymnasium, but you’d be lucky to get the original 700 kids in there.

“The school has been asking and asking the state government for about the last five years [for funding] and it has just fallen on deaf ears.”

The school has been forced to hire the hall at Coolum State School for larger events, like awards ceremonies, and is looking as far as Forest Glen for venues to accommodate year 12 graduation ceremonies.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education says the project is on the state government’s list for future funding, but not a high priority as it is not a classroom or learning facility.

“The department works with principals to develop a list of priorities for new facilities at schools through a School Strategic Infrastructure Plan (SSIP),” the spokesperson says.

“SSIP proposals from all schools are submitted for consideration by the department and assessed through a prioritisation process to ensure the highest needs across the state are met.”

Coolum SHS has received more than $14 million since the 2014-15 financial year for the planning and construction of a two-storey classroom block that officially opened in 2020.

“The department will continue to work with Coolum State High School to ensure facilities cater for student growth into the future.”

Mr Gorman says the explosion in enrolments is mainly due to population growth in Peregian Springs, which falls in the Coolum SHS catchment zone.

Due to current area growth, the P&C expects student numbers to potentially reach 1800 students by 2024.

While the hall will first and foremost benefit the school, Mr Gorman says such a facility will also benefit the wider community and be hired out for functions or events.

The P&C will now work to get the ball rolling on fundraising the $10.5 million needed for the hall.

“We are currently at square one and are looking for significant donations.

“Fundraising would take a lot of sausage sizzles to raise $10.5 million.

“We are hoping to get on someone’s radar.”

Enquiries can be made to pandcexecutive@coolumshs.eq.edu.au.

Coolum State High School was established in 1985 and its enrolment catchment includes Coolum Beach, south to Marcoola, north to Marcus Beach and west to Yandina Creek and Verrierdale.

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