With rapid growth and a community rich in sporting and cultural pursuits, Coolum High is committed to acquiring a multi-use performance hall to meet the needs of their student body which will put them in line with schools of other sizes and also serve as a much-needed community asset for the entire local region.
The #buildthehall campaign is being spearheaded by the Coolum State High School P&C and President Nicole Sklenars said that with the rapid growth at Coolum High the school had outgrown the hall that it currently uses.
“At the moment only two cohorts can come together and the school has doubled in the past five years – it’s important that the school body be able to be together and for us to be able to hold important events such as ANZAC Day parades as a school community together and a new and bigger multi-use hall will do that.”
“We also have to source other locations for our awards nights and in addition to this the community needs this facility – the Civic Centre is not big enough for many theatre productions and concerts,” Ms Sklenars said.
The recent State Government budget allocated $140.5 million towards education infrastructure on the Sunshine Coast which will include new halls at Chancellor State College, Noosa State High’s Pomona campus, Buderim Mountain State School and Burnside State High – Coolum was not on the list for this critical spend.
Local MP Dan Purdie said that he is 100 per cent behind the P&C’s campaign to see the school further enhance its facilities with a dedicated performance hall, which will not only benefit the school but the entire community.
“In the last four years alone, since I’ve been the local member, Coolum State High has benefitted from close to $20million in funding from the State Government, confirming its reputation as one of our leading educational facilities,” Mr Purdie said.
Speaking in Parliament earlier this year Mr Purdie spoke on record about the difficulties facing Coolum High students in regards to coming together as a school group and the need for a multi-use hall.
“Coolum High has grown from strength to strength and now boasts a number of excellent programs and has an outstanding record of academic, cultural, sporting and educational achievements.
“Despite this performance and its recent growth, the school lacks a purpose-built performance hall that can meet the needs of the expanding school curriculum and accommodate the entire school population.
“When the current principal, Troy Ascott, arrived at the school in 2017 there were only 980 students. This year the school has more than 1,400 students. Mr Ascott described how the school can no longer meet as one and how he has to divide the school in half just to have an assembly. Even then students have to sit on exposed concrete at the side of the undercover area trying to dodge bird droppings from the many birds who have now made the school hall their home.
“I urge the minister to prioritise these infrastructure upgrades accordingly.”
Education Minister Grace Grace did not formally address when Coolum High would receive State Government funds for their hall.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to ensuring all students attending state schools have access to quality facilities,” the Minister said.
Whilst there has been new infrastructure built at Coolum High and the current $140.5 million statewide education budget is affording new classrooms to be built at Coolum High, the multi-use hall is seen as the next warranted educational infrastructure needed for the school.
Taking matters into their own hands the P&C is now starting the daunting task of fundraising for the hall until the State Government will come to the party and fund this critical infrastructure.
“We are very lucky to have these other buildings which have been built recently, however, the hall is vital for our school community and the larger Coolum community,” Ms Sklenars said.
It is estimated that the hall, which is earmarked for the current staff carpark site out front of the school will cost $10.5 million to build.
Until the State Government funds the hall, the P&C is committed to making their collective voice very loud and pushing for their hall and is hoping the entire local community will get behind them and champion the #buildthehall movement.
Tax deductable donations for the Coolum High hall building fund can be made to – Bendigo Bank ACC: 182948810, BSB: 633000