More than 30 years ago, Wangaratta District Specialist School was opened to cater for a total of just eight students - now it has 164, but the facilities have never been upgraded.
So the unexpected news that the Victorian government would provide $5.235 million for works, to be shared with neighbours Appin Park Primary School, has left principal Chris Harvison "absolutely stoked".
"We've got some significant enrollment pressures," he said.
"The current school site was built in 1986 for eight kids, our enrollments are 164 at the moment.
"We're running out of space, the buildings are a little out of date, so we're looking for some state of the art facilities to meet the needs of the kids."
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It has a been a lengthy process for the schools to get the funding.
They developed a masterplan back in 2016, welcomed Premier Daniel Andrews and Northern Victoria MP Jaclyn Symes for a visit in 2017, were granted $2.2 million for stage 1 of the project in 2018, then were told of the $5.235 million for stage 2 this week.
Work is scheduled to begin in December.
"There's lots of people who are battling. I think the idea behind this stimulation of the economy is a terrific idea," Mr Harvison said.
"We have a fairly complex cohort of kids so the facilities we need to be able to cater to them aren't what you would see at a regular school, they tend to be expensive.
"But we would consider them to be essential not only to meet the academic needs of the kids, but the emotional, social and therapeutic needs."
Works at Appin Park will start with refurbishment of then administration building, then other parts of the school.
Principal Fiona Carson said the two schools had a good relationship and were happy with the joint funding, even though it came as a surprise this week.
"Our buildings are looking a bit old and rundown, so it's going to inject a new life into the school," she said.
"Both schools are in need of new spaces, modernised rooms to keep up with the learning that's going on in 2020."
Ovens Valley MP Tim McCurdy congratulated the schools for their hard work.
"While Labor unfortunately chose not to support a new site for the specialist school, I am pleased they have responded to my calls for funding for this school which provides such a vital service to families across our region," he said.
"Rural and regional students deserve 21st century facilities just as much as their metropolitan counterparts."
The funding announcement also included $2.1 million to repair a failing septic system and re-open Tawonga Caravan Park, which Alpine Council mayor Peter Roper said was terrific as a way to bring tourists back to the region.
He had discussed the project with Mr Andrews after the summer bushfires and said it could be completed in 18 months.
"I'm very happy it's been supported, given we've had the COVID-19 restrictions," he said.
"It's all looking positive ... We need to get more people here."