'VERY EXCITED': Clarence Valley Anglican School principal Martin Oates with the first of three designs as part of a new masterplan for the school.
'VERY EXCITED': Clarence Valley Anglican School principal Martin Oates with the first of three designs as part of a new masterplan for the school. Adam Hourigan

New jail creates right path to student growth

CLARENCE Valley Anglican School principal Martin Oates thinks there's a positive flavour in the school as it begins its journey on a 25-year masterplan.

And first up, the school wants to make a song and dance about it.

The new masterplan splits an expansion of the school into three stages: the next five years, 10 years, and 25 years.

"We're looking at growing the school, but we don't want it to be ad hoc, we want it to be planned growth," Mr Oates said.

"Then we get the opportunity comes for say a library, like with the Building Revolution, we know where the library will be able to go."

First will be is a performing arts centre, for which the school has applied for a grant of $900,000, and will add the remaining $1.4m.

"Hopefully we'll get the good news in October, build through next year and open in 2021," Mr Oates said.

He said there had been strong growth in music and arts in the school and the centre was an appropriate place to start the expansion.

With the current enrolment in both junior and secondary campus at 325, Mr Oates said the budget was for a conservative increase of 10 students a year, but the masterplan allowed the school to grow at a rate commensurate with enrolment.

"The growth is pretty well across the school. Obviously Year 7 is an intake year as well as kindergarten but we're getting some in all areas," he said.

"Much of the new growth in the area is positive. With the new correctional centre on this side of town, the school is well positioned for the drop-off and pick-up for people working out there.

"But we want to plan the growth. We may get to 400-450 students and say that's a good size, or keep going because there's a demand and having a masterplan allows that growth.

"We're not just putting a last-minute demountable into the school and undoing the lovely landscaping and environment."

The 10-year stage shows the addition of cattle yards to complement school property at Glenreagh, and proposes an early childhood centre and other amenities.

For 25 years along, Mr Oates said there could be a gymnasium, an expansion of the oval to a full track, and merging of the junior campus, which currently rents its Grafton premises from the Anglican church.

He said there was a positive reaction to the plan when it was launched to the school's P&F last term, but he was keen to point out the benefits were not just for the school community.

"We don't want to be isolationist, we see ourselves as a part of the Grafton community," he said.

"This is a line in the sand. Enrolments are increasing, and we're moving forward. We're very excited."