When school’s $11.5 million STEM building will be ready
THE construction of a new $11.5 million STEM building at an Ipswich private school is expected to be finished by the end of the school year, with more facilities in the pipeline due to its improved financial situation.
Ipswich Grammar School has more than 1000 students enrolled for the first time in seven years and its science, technology, engineering and mathematics centre is expected to be ready by the end of November.
The 157-year-old school is on an "upward trajectory" according to board of trustees chair David Edwards.
The school operated at a loss for nine years before recording a $79,000 surplus in 2017 and that increased to $196,000 in 2018.
"This is the sort of tool to help us create stronger, meaningful education experiences for our boys to get them ready for the real world," he said.
"We did take a lot of time to involve the teachers in the design of the building so it wasn't just architects going away. The teachers have got real ownership of the building because they've designed it so it can work for them.
"It's open and it's breezy. It's not the sort of school rooms that we were used to. It's more a university style education centre."
The three-storey building will include laboratories for the sciences, technology and engineering, STEM workshops, learning studios, a lecture theatre, a rooftop outdoor learning space and collaborative workspaces.
The school's original building, the Great Hall, will be opened up to views from Woodend Rd as a result.
The State Government contributed about $750,000 to the project, which is the first secondary school building to be built on the campus since 1985.
About 80 people will be involved in the construction, with the Murray Hancock building, Box Room, former dormitory wing and dining hall demolished in the process.
"The next stage of this is to refurbish another building where STEM is being taught now into a new art precinct which will be a couple million dollar project that we'll launch next year," Mr Edwards said.
"There's a whole heap of chess pieces that we keep moving around. It is a constrained site and we do have to be really careful we do maintain and look after the significant heritage we've got."
Mr Edwards said the board will prepare a business case for a new boarding house this year.
"If we grow enrolments, we can finance these sorts of investments we need to make," he said.