Wodonga West set for multimillion dollar upgrade

Wodonga West Primary School principal Jocelyn Owen inside the school reception area. Picture: TARA GOONAN
Wodonga West Primary School principal Jocelyn Owen inside the school reception area. Picture: TARA GOONAN

WODONGA West Primary School’s long-running battle for a multimillion-dollar upgrade could end as early as today.

Member for Benambra Bill Tilley was tight-lipped yesterday about the Wodonga school being the latest recipient of a major funding injection ahead of the Victorian government’s final budget before the November election.

The Coalition has already splashed $17.3 million on school upgrades in Wangaratta, Yarrawonga and Benalla in recent days.

Wodonga West has lobbied successive governments for $6 million to bring the school up to modern standards.

The Border Mail understands the funding boost could cover sorely needed improvements to classrooms, administration areas and toilets.

The renovations could also slow the drain of students from the school in recent years.

It had gone from a peak enrolment of 700 students to less than 300 last year when Victorian Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews visited the school to inspect its run-down facilities.

He challenged Premier Denis Napthine to make a similar visit.

But Labor hasn’t committed funding to school upgrades in the North East to date.

Mr Tilley said the Wodonga school which was earmarked for the funding was deserving.

“I think for this school and the school community, it has been particularly difficult in the past,” he said.

“We’ve worked hard through the Treasury and department (of education) to get them on the funding list.

“We have recognised for a long time now that school infrastructure has needed particular attention.

“We’re coming to the fourth quarter of our first term of government and getting through a lot of the infrastructure needs and investment previously promised, particularly in Benambra.”

The Coalition has delivered on its promise of a $12 million replacement for Belvoir Special School in Wodonga.

The school is due to relocate from its home in Bowman Court to Gayview Drive at the start of term three.

The final $6 million for the project was delivered in the state budget 12 months ago.