Yarragon Primary’s new campus: Already a success story
 Baw Baw News   By // 20:40, Friday 23 November 2012

AFTER decades of waiting Yarragon Primary School has moved into its new campus, and after one week its principal is already heralding the move as a success.

Celebration: Balloons in the school colours tied to the front fence of Yarragon Primary’s new campus. Photo: Keith Lewry.


The school officially moved from Rollo Street to Loch Street after a ceremonial walk on Monday.

Principal Keith Lewry told The Warragul Citizen it was a long wait for the new school to be constructed.

“It’s been a long trip to get here,” Mr Lewry said.

“If you look [it] started over 30 years ago when the block of land was made available to the Department of Education.


“They got close to building in the 80s and it fell apart, [but we] had an opportunity through the (Federal Government’s) Building the Education Revolution money to move here a couple of years ago and that’s what we put our efforts into.”

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After a special assembly at the old school on Monday morning students walked to the new campus.

But the group was beaten by Baw Baw’s guerrilla knitters, who decorated the campus before the students arrived there

“It was a very nice surprise,” Mr Lewry said.

“Looking out of my office here I can see all sorts of things right across the front fence. They must’ve done a tower of work.”

Each student was given a helium balloon in the school’s colours before leaving for the new campus. The balloons were tied to the fence of the new campus when they arrived.

Mr Lewry said the building is “great” but there is “a lot of work [to be done] outside” before the school is finished moving in.


A large covered area is yet to make its way from the old campus to the new campus.

For the school’s Year Six students, who graduate at the end of this year, the move comes just in time.

“It’s been a lot longer process than we thought it would be and they (the year six students) were [starting to think] they weren’t going to be students at the new school,” Mr Lewry said.

Mr Lewry said improvements include the school having twice the land of the old school and larger, more up-to-date classrooms.

“All the data points are all built-in whereas they were all just stuck on the wall in the old place, [and] the building’s actually built very well,” Mr Lewry said.

“It stays cool very well, stays warm very well, it has $50,00 of solar panels in (sic) the roof to help with power, so it’s a far more modern building and children respond to that sort of thing.”

The extra land and easier access to sporting facilities are considered a major advantage of the new school.

“That makes it a whole lot better for us as a school and in these days of childhood obesity it’s great to be able to get out and run around a lot,” Mr Lewry said.

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Leaving the old school was “emotional.”

“We’ve been at Rollo Street for 131 years I think so we knew it was a bit of an emotional trip for the children coming across,” Mr Lewry said.

“[It was] also [emotional] for members of their families and parents and grandparents and great grandparents, a number of whom have been at the school in that time.

“Obviously there was a bit of sadness leaving the old campus, but there was nothing really on the campus that was that old anyway, the oldest building on the site was from about 1968.”

The Department of Education will decide the future of the old campus.

Mr Lewry said it was important to move this year so the school’s 110 students could settle in before next year.

The school is expecting to have over 120 students next year.

Yarragon Kindergarten students will soon join the present students on the campus after a $300,000 investment to help them move in.

Mr Lewry acknowledged Yarragon Primary’s School Council, the Baw Baw Shire Council, and the wider community for their help.

“School Council have been magnificent in putting in a heck of a lot of work, and our staff have (sic) been fantastic, and the wider school community,” Mr Lewry said.

“I know the Shire get a belting every now and again but Loch Street, which we front on to, used to just be an open drain and they’ve made the road properly and put kerbing in and a bus parking area.”

Mr Lewry said the school and the Shire are working on an agreement which will allow the sharing of facilities surrounding the new campus.

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