By Jessica Anstice
Works on Pakenham’s brand new secondary school are well and truly underway, with construction set to be completed before term one next year.
Once fully completed, families across the Cardinia shire will have more options as the school will be able to cater for up to 1200 students.
Located along Henry Road just down from John Henry Primary School, the construction of Pakenham Henry Road Secondary College (interim name) is right on schedule.
“Construction is progressing beautifully at the new Pakenham Henry Road Secondary School with the structural steel being installed for the visual arts building,” Bass MP Jordan Crugnale said.
“The Andrews Government is committed to opening Pakenham’s second public high school in term one 2021 because our growing school community deserves it.”
Cardinia Shire Council councillor Collin Ross said works are moving along very quickly.
“They’ve done a lot of excavation work, plumbing and a fair bit of concreting,” he said.
“About 12 years ago when I first ran for council I called around 7000 people on the phone to ask what they thought were the top things they would like to see in the area and I took down all of their responses.
“Overall, a second Pakenham high school was in the top four things that people wanted to see.”
Cr Ross said he spent years lobbying for a second Pakenham centric secondary college.
“At the time, there was only one option for secondary school students and even though it was really good school, it didn’t suit all kids,” he explained.
“Some students were trying to get transfers to Drouin, Kooweerup and Berwick, and that wasn’t practical for a whole lot of people.”
To start off with, the new school will have a visual arts building, a science, technology, engineering and maths building, two outdoor play courts and a temporary reception.
Eventually, a performing arts and physical education building, as well as a sports field and an administration building will be constructed.
“It’s not necessarily that the families in the area don’t dislike the current high school in Pakenham that they’ve got there now,” Cr Ross said.
“It’s that this new school might offer subjects the other doesn’t because the other school is bit more traditional.
“Families just need to look for the options that suit their child best. All in all, I just think it will be an absolutely wonderful addition to our area and I really just can’t wait for it to open up.”