THIS shovel jump, pogo-stick style, by Bill Tilley marked the end of Wodonga Senior Secondary College’s drawn-out battle against mould and termites.
By 2014 a new $11 million school complex on Brockley Street will provide 27 classrooms, a library, lecture theatre, staff rooms and offices.
Eight years ago, plans were made to replace the former Wodonga High School’s 52-year-old Woodland Street building, long troubled by white ants and mould.
As the member for Benambra slammed the shovel into the hard dirt to try to turn a sod, he recalled years of campaigning by the school community and himself.
More than a decade of mould and termite problems with the old timber building forced classrooms to shut for periods for repairs.
Mr Tilley described the old building as “third world”.
“Holes in the bloody floors, mould and bacteria — no teacher should have had to have endured those conditions, nor a student learning,” he said.
“It was third world, it really was, and to see the cracks in the floors, the mould, the health risk, you couldn’t argue a better case why it should have been funded a lot earlier.”
The state government will pay $10 million of the cost and the school $1 million.
Principal Vern Hilditch said the building, with a new entrance for the school, was a “huge win” for public education.
“And the building will be made out of steel and concrete,” he said with a laugh, noting the “significant amount of money” the school had spent eradicating termites and mould.
“We’re not going down this path again.”
Next year the Woodland Street building will be cleared for tennis courts and a hockey field.