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Building Facilities and Better Schools for Our Kids

ACT Budget 2019-20 - New and expanded schools

We will build a new pre-school to Year 6 school at Throsby and prepare for a new high school in Kenny to deliver more local public education options in one of Canberra’s fastest-growing areas.

These two new schools will ensure more Gungahlin students can continue to find a place at a great public school close to home, while providing important local facilities like ovals that can be used by the wider community. The new Throsby primary school will be ready to take students at the start of the 2022 school year, while the new high school is planned to open in 2023.

This investment builds on the delivery of the new Margaret Hendry Primary School at Taylor which opened in 2019, and the new Molonglo Primary School which is currently under construction for delivery in 2021.

We are also growing places for students at local schools across the city, through a combination of permanent expansions and flexible transportable buildings.

This will include expanding the Franklin Early Childhood School from a P-2 facility to a full P-6 school; expanding Gold Creek School’s senior campus and adding new teaching and learning spaces at Gungahlin College; and adding flexible classrooms to Hawker Primary School and Lyneham High School.

Through this year’s Budget we are also investing in detailed planning for future school needs in the city and gateway region – and other urban renewal sites – so we can keep making the right investments to deliver local school capacity where it’s needed.

Visit the ACT Government Budget 2019-20 website

Canberra’s public school facilities are being renewed with new learning spaces, toilets and change rooms, garden and horticultural facilities, heating and cooling upgrades and energy efficiency improvements. Belconnen High School is receiving refurbished technology areas, upgraded outdoor learning and teaching environments and roof replacements.

While other projects will expand the capacity of Harrison School, Gold Creek School, Neville Bonner Primary School and Palmerston District Primary School and increase the capacity of the new primary school in North Gungahlin, creating room for another 844 students. We will also carry out scoping and early planning for new schools in the Molonglo Valley and East Gungahlin, to ensure good local schools grow alongside these new communities.

Sustainable Schools

We are focused on providing healthy and comfortable teaching and learning spaces to maximise the learning outcomes for all children. Ecological Sustainable Development (ESD) plays a key role in achieving this goal through project design and the efficient management of natural resources. The Directorate’s strategic priorities for ESD align with the ACT Government’s commitments to; energy efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, waste minimisation and resource recovery, water efficiency, living infrastructure, sustainable procurement and sustainable transport.

Climate-change-and Future Schools

Sustainable design is integrated into new schools, major projects and capital upgrades to support the ACT government’s 2045 net zero greenhouse emission target. The target established under the ACT Climate Change and Greenhouse Reduction Act 2010, has driven significant progress including the uptake of renewable energy and the integration of sustainable design principles across the ACT public school portfolio.

The provision and upgrade of sustainable school infrastructure is viewed as key to supporting teaching and learning activities and is a visual statement of the ACT Government’s commitment to a sustainable future for current and future generations.

In 2019 the new Margaret Hendry School was the first ACT Public School designed to operate using 100% electricity. This enabled the school to take advantage the ACT’s transition to 100% renewable electricity by 2020 and produce zero emissions in its operations. The school integrates sustainable design features including onsite generation of electricity via a 100kW solar array, solar passive design, natural ventilation, double glazing and energy efficient heating and cooling systems.

Energy Efficiency and Building Comfort

To assist schools to be more efficient in their energy use and improve the comfort of students and staff, a program of targeted upgrades and building audits is undertaken annually. The program includes building envelope improvements to enable better maintenance of internal temperatures by preventing heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer, improved efficiency of building heating and cooling systems to assist in reducing gas and electricity usage, and capacity building through the provision of skill development workshops and information sessions for Building Service Officers and Business Managers.

Recent projects include double glazing upgrades to select areas at North Ainslie Primary School (building on an open plan classroom and corridor upgraded 2016-17), Southern Cross Early Childhood School and Wanniassa Hills Primary School. Energy monitoring is taking place to determine the effect of the works on energy consumption. Significant improvement in student and staff comfort has been recorded.

External Learning Environments (ELE)

Engaging, sustainable playgrounds are a key focus in delivering a rich outdoor learning environment, supporting positive social experiences for school children and reinforcing connections with the natural environment. A series of programs under this banner ELE deliver landscape master plans to support schools as they progressively develop their grounds, a tree planting program to provide cool seasonal shade to outdoor play spaces and buildings as well as select and construct landscape projects as exemplars that support student needs, are cost effective, reflect current best practice for environmental sustainability and provide a balance between artificial and natural play spaces.

A Tree Planting Program initiated in 2017-18 involved the planting of advanced tree specimens to provide shade to buildings, reduce the impact of heat banking surfaces, provide cool shade to students and playgrounds, and replace trees at end of life.  In 2018-19 a further 98 trees were planted across nine schools including Bonython Primary, Caroline Chisholm (senior and junior campuses) Fadden, Hawker Primary, Monash Primary Wanniassa Hills and Yarralumla Primary Schools.

Narrabundah College Modernisation

A school modernisation has commenced at Narrabundah College to improve the school with state of the art facilities which will allow students and teachers to continue to thrive. This modernisation process started in 2018 with the removal of asbestos affected buildings (Blocks B, C and D) and the construction of a temporary Learning Village.

The installation of 22 new transportable buildings at Narrabundah College provides contemporary learning and teaching spaces, as well as break out areas for students, and a range of specialist learning spaces to support the quality learning we have come to know from Narrabundah College, and all our ACT public schools.

These new spaces for the Science, Arts, English, Philosophy, History, Politics, Learning Support and French Baccalauréat faculties, will serve the students of this school community well, providing them with a comfortable, bright and spacious learning environment or ‘village’ as it’s affectionately referred to. The transportable buildings are fully insulated and have energy efficient reverse cycle air conditioning.

Narrabundah College studentsNarrabundah College new buildingNarrabundah College students

Students and staff commenced teaching and learning in these contemporary classrooms at the start of term 3, 2018.

The ACT Government is conducting a community conversation to understand views on the future of Narrabundah College as a 21st century learning space for all learners. Visit to find out more.

Campbell Primary School Modernisation

Campbell Primary School

The modernisation of Campbell Primary School is well under way with the demolition of the aged buildings (Block B and the Annexe) completed during the 2017/18 summer holidays. Students and teachers moved into the 10 new transportable learning spaces at the start of the 2018 school year.

The ACT Government announced that the 2018-19 Budget will deliver $18.8 million to both replace buildings at Campbell Primary School with new, modern learning facilities and upgrade aging infrastructure. The construction of a new building and refurbishment of the Junior Wing and Library will be a part of the school’s modernisation and will occur over a period of four years. This work will deliver a contemporary learning environment and modern facilities for students, teachers and the local community.

The school community has been working together to shape the future learning spaces at the school and this information will be used to develop the master plan for the new buildings and modernisation of the school.

Visit to find out more.