A HOUSE to help special needs kids learn skills to live independently will be a reality in Wodonga early next year.
The Belvoir Special School Life Skills House has gained final approval after being delayed by state government red tape for 18 months.
The Life Skills House is a joint venture between Belvoir Special School and the Rotary Clubs of Belvoir-Wodonga, Wodonga Central, Wodonga West and Albury-Wodonga Sunrise.
Rotary Club of Belvoir-Wodonga president Trevor Pearce said they got a letter from the Education Department approving the house on the grounds of Belvoir Special School in Gayview Drive about three weeks ago.
He said Wodonga Council approved the building permit within two days of getting that letter.
“We think, realistically, it will be a six-month build,” he said.
“The kids are very excited and we are very excited.”
More than 200 students will learn independent living skills such as cooking and cleaning in a home environment.
Belvoir Special School principal Jamie Gay welcomed the start to the project.
“Just to have it up and running, the kids are really excited about that,” he said.
“At the moment they’re excited about the anticipation of the build but they will soon be excited about what they can achieve in it.”
Belvoir Special School pupil Bronson McFarland, 15, said he wanted to learn household chores in a real house.
“I’m looking forward to vacuuming and mowing the lawns,” he said.
Building manager Anthony Baker, of Wodonga firm Premier Building & Construction, is now organising the build.
Wodonga surveyors and building designers EDM Group got on site straight away.
EDM Group survey manager Robert McCauley said it was a vital project, which was made possible without state or federal government funding.
“It’s absolutely brilliant and we’re happy to give back to the community,” he said.
Mr Pearce said the project would welcome support from carpenters or bricklayers.
“Any donations of roofing materials would be appreciated; we’ve raised enough money to finish the project but not furnish it yet.”
There is a Buy A Brick campaign on the Life Skills House Facebook page for pavers.