This brings to fruition a $7.8 million capital works project to refurbish facilities at the school, one of 11 secondary schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.
The project is all part of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle’s ongoing investment in the refurbishment of existing Catholic schools to enhance the learning environment for students and staff.
These capital works resulted in the refurbishment of Technical & Applied Technology areas, Hospitality, Art and Food Technology facilities, student amenities for the school’s 672 students and a new administration facility, staff facilities and learning support rooms for the 77 members of staff.
As part of the works, there is also a new canteen and the Moylan Hall has been extended.
“The Diocese is also in investing in meeting the growing demand for Catholic education in the Hunter-Manning region by building new schools and extending existing schools which are home to more than 8,400 primary students and more than 11,200 secondary students,” said Sean Scanlon, the Diocese’s Chief Executive Officer.
“A new secondary school, St Bede’s Catholic College in Chisholm, is being built over four stages.
“With stage one completed, the school opened its doors to more than 100 students who started at the college in Year 7 in January last year.
“Once the remaining three stages are completed, the school will have more than 1,100 students.
“We have also increased the number of Year 11 classes in our secondary schools having, in January last year, enrolled 65 Year 11 students at St Mary’s Catholic College in Gateshead and 75 Year 11 students at St Joseph’s College in Lochinvar.
“In addition, last year two schools - St Peter’s (Years 7-10) and St Mary’s (Years 11-12) – came together under the All Saints' banner. The result is that at All Saints' College in Maitland, learning teams have oversight of every student from Year 7 through to Year 12,” he said.
Speaking after the official opening and blessing by Bishop William Wright of the new facilities at St Joseph’s High School, Gerard Mowbray – the Acting Director of the Catholic Schools Office – said:
“We are delighted to see the completion of the latest stage of the capital works development at St Joseph’s, Aberdeen.
“This has transformed significant components of the school and delivered a range of new learning spaces, staff and administration facilities.
“The project delivers outstanding facilities to enhance the learning process and the environment within which staff, students and parents can operate.
“This project aligns with the strategic direction of the Diocese to ensure that our Catholic schools can boast facilities that are highly effective for student engagement and learning as well as offering effective and aesthetically pleasing work spaces for staff.
“It is an extension of our commitment that commits to an environment of excellence for the increasing number of families choosing a Catholic education,” he said.
In his speech of thanks, the Principal Robert Holstein said the opening of the Stage Two building works marked the final stage of a building project that began in 2013.
“The project would not have been completed without the financial support of the Australian Government through its Capital Grants Program and the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle through the Schools Building Fund.”
He also thanked the staff, the parents and the previous Principal - John Tobin - for their support and the part they played in the vision and planning of the St Joseph’s project in 2012.
“St Joseph’s provides quality education in buildings that provide for students learning needs today and into the future,” Robert said.
“Our school has been changed greatly since its beginnings and the fact that our student population grows each year is a reflection of parents’ confidence in our abilities to provide a quality all-round education for their children.
“We are a proud Josephite school, founded by the Sisters of St Joseph’s, and we strive to maintain the standards of education that is very much reflective of the Sisters of St Joseph, Mary McKillop and Tenison-Woods,” he added.
Photography by Amanda Skehan.