The centre’s official opening, by the Federal Member for Lyne, the Hon. Dr David Gillespie MP, and blessing, by the Vicar General of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, Fr Andrew Doohan, marked a major milestone in the history of education in the Diocese, which has involved several religious orders. The Josephite order of teaching nuns - who worked tirelessly for the community of St Clare’s for many years - inspired the name for the centre.
The genius design of the new space offers a flexible learning environment that allows students to think collaboratively, take responsibility for their learning and be innovative, thereby empowering the Manning youth to become collaborative leaders and leave school equipped with the skills they will need for the workplace of tomorrow.
“The Josephite Learning Centre embodies the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle’s progressive commitment to the evolving nature of teaching and learning,” said Peter Nicholls, Principal of St Clare’s High School.
Russell McFarlane of Austin McFarlane Architects formulated the design, in consultation with St Clare’s staff, students and the Parents and Friends Association, along with the Diocese’s Property Team.
Within the building, ‘zones’ have been created that allow for traditional modes of learning and teaching as well as active collaboration, presentations, self-directed study and chill-out and quiet reading areas. The building will also be utilised for community gatherings, parent/teacher/student interviews and guest speaker events.
The opening of the Josephite Learning Centre is being complemented by further improvements to other school facilities including updated student amenities, the construction of new basketball courts, an amphitheatre and revamped library facilities.
Staff at St Clare’s, with the support of the Catholic Schools Office, keenly embrace every opportunity available to deliver outstanding services and outcomes for all students.
“Providing quality education to the youth of the Manning is a great privilege,” said Gerard Mowbray, acting Director of the Catholic Schools Office in the Diocese.
“We’re investing record funding in school infrastructure with the primary purpose of transcending students’ learning experience.
“By creating collaborative, adaptable and inclusive environments, our mission is to progress students from being ‘data banks’ to inquisitive problem solvers and innovators,” he said.
The projected total cost of the new developments is approximately $7.5 million, with almost $3.3 million in funding from the Australian Government’s Capital Grants Program (CGP) and the remainder to be made up of contributions from parents and carers through the Diocesan School Building Levy and a loan from the Catholic Development Fund.
To find out more about St Clare’s High School, Taree, click here.