Renovations officially opened

Posted on Wednesday, 15th August, 2012

Three years ago Cottage school looked a little different!

Thanks to the very generous government grants – known as ‘Building the Education Revolution-BER’ for schools, Cottage School was able to embark on the most extensive renovation and refurbishment it has ever had. Anne remarked that it felt like a dream! 

For decades, Cottage relied on the ‘army’ of parent helpers to paint, patch and keep the buildings in a useable condition. Now, our lovely cottages are professionally painted inside and out, some have new windows, new roofing, new wiring, new plumbing, new carpets, new walls, new heating…the list goes on.

The Biggies cottage has a wonderful kitchen extension, underneath which we have the brand new Kinder room, with a landscaped  ampitheatre outside.  There is even a brand new kitchen in the Middlies cottage for school lunch preparation. The storage sheds outside replace some very old buildings and have provided cleaner, drier storage for important items like dress-ups and sport equipment.  Most importantly the school is now a shining example for energy efficient renovations.

Senator Bilyk was on hand to unveil the official plaque and to receive the school community’s heart felt thanks. She heard from a number of people how it has improved our school.

So many people at the school were involved in the project that I am bound to miss someone if I try! Almost every member of the school community in some way contributed- from checking buildings, to running errands, choosing equipment for kitchens, colours for cottages , attending steering committees………… However, Penny must come high on the list for managing a lot of financial business. I have fond memories of running into the independent schools authority with our progress reports to be signed off for our next tranche of money to pay the builders! Teaching staff must be honored for their efforts to teach in temporary classrooms, which must have been very challenging at times.

Our supervising architect was the very talented Nigel Legge, and our builders were Otto Berry.  Sean Berry and his team must be congratulated for their ability to work safely and kindly near the children, and for getting the job done to such a high standard.

Clarence Council was fantastic in getting the  approvals through in a timely fashion, and our various electricians and plumbers must also be mentioned.  One major, but unseen part of the project involved consolidating the electrical connections to the school from three to one and connecting the cottages with data cables.  Lastly, you may have noted a rather fine array of solar panels on the roof of the white cottage.  These were as a result not of the BER- but a tenaciously applied for- over a couple of years!- 50K$ solar school grant, that just happened to coincide with the end of the BER.  These solar panels are putting a large amount of energy into the grid, and in summer, actually put the school into healthy credit!  This should result in an incredibly modest electricity bill over the year for the school. We will keep you informed.  The installers of the array were Nuenergy.

 The school is now included in ‘Sustainable House Day’ on Sunday 9th September between 10 am and 4pm.

See more pictures of the school grounds Gallery