No plans to expand the WSHS site
THE Department of Education yesterday confirmed to the Daily News it has no plans for the future development of the Warwick State High School (WSHS) and insists the school has the capacity to meet short-term enrolment forecasts.
As of February, 1025 students were enrolled and the capacity of the WSHS campus is 1080.
However, another building is currently being constructed at the site under the Building the Education Revolution program.
Department of Education Infrastructure Services acting deputy director-general Graham Atkins told the Daily News “there are sufficient facilities at Warwick State High School to meet student numbers now and into the near future”.
“No planning for future development is being considered as there are sufficient facilities at Warwick State High School to meet short-term enrolment forecasts,” Mr Atkins said.
“The department is not looking at acquiring the Slade School campus, or any other properties.”
Mayor Ron Bellingham yesterday said while the WSHS may have enough classroom space to meet students' needs, a plan was essential for the future development of the campus.
“They might have a room, they might have a seat, but I do not think they have the right amount of space,” Cr Bellingham said.
“(The Department of Education) needs to come up and have a look at the situation rather than making these comments from afar. I do not believe they are in touch with what the community is saying.
“The students do not have enough space to allow them to engage in sporting (and) other activities, without going right down on to Hamilton Oval.”
Cr Bellingham said while he was pleased the new Learning Centre was an investment in the community, it was a poorly planned one.
“The investment needed to be thought through and I do not think this has been planned terribly well and if the department is saying they have no future plans for the Warwick State High School that really disappoints me,” he said.
“This is a growing area.”
Cr Bellingham said the council would be in contact with the Department of Education and Education and Training Minister Geoff Wilson's office regarding the high school.
“I think the community can keep focused on what needs to be done and communicate it clearly to the state department and the politicians,” he said.
“There's nothing essentially wrong with (the existing WSHS) site apart from the fact that we see the space young people need continually eroded away by additional buildings.
“I would like to see the department at least have some meaningful consultation with the community through its council about what needs to be developed into the future.”
State Member for Southern Downs Lawrence Springborg said he was concerned about how an extra “200” Year 7 pupils would fit at the Warwick State High School, should the State Government implement this as education policy across the state in 2014.
He wrote to Mr Wilson's office and outlined these concerns to which the minister responded “departmental officers are working with Warwick State High School to ensure the school will be in a position to accommodate Year 7 students, should Queensland implement Year 7 to secondary schools in the future”.
Mr Springborg said the State Government had no plan for the future of the WSHS, to the detriment of the future students of the campus.
“They've got their heads stuck in the sand – the local school community, teachers and administrators are concerned about this,” Mr Springborg said.
“They've got “kid growth watch” now and unless there is a master plan, a real dinky-di plan for the future, the students are going to suffer.”
Mr Springborg said Mr Wilson needed to push for a master plan for the WSHS.
“You've got to put all the options on the table, I just know it's not going to grow where we need it to grow on the current site,” he said.
“It's just complete dereliction – they don't even want to confront it. We can't have a multi-storey school going up five or six stories, that isn't going to work.
“I would love to see something committed to and I would have loved to have seen it in this budget.”