Shalom College is planning to expand its campus with the introduction of a collaborative learning building and the largest school solar farm in Queensland.
Principal Dan McMahon said the two major projects, which were currently with Bundaberg Regional Council for assessment, were of a high priority for the school due to its continued growth.
He said the proposed Shalom solar farm, which would be situated on three acres of property on campus, would not only educate students about the environment but would also be a tangible step in reducing the greenhouse emissions from the college.
“This system will be the largest solar and battery system installed in any school in Queensland,” he said.
“The three acres of solar panels will tilt as they follow the sun during the day to maximise solar energy generation.
“810 kilowatts of solar energy will be generated and then stored in Tesla batteries. This will result in 800 tons of carbon abatement per year.”
Mr McMahon said students would see a practical application of alternate energy production in action with the solar farm providing up to 80 per cent of the energy requirements for Shalom.
“The $400,000 per year the college currently spends on the purchase of electricity from the grid will be able to be spent on student learning moving forward,” he said.
“The project will cost approximately $3 million but should be cost neutral within seven years.”
Mr McMahon said the solar farm project was targeted for construction early next year.
Shalom College collaborative learning building on the cards
Shalom College students could also soon have an additional 14 learning spaces added to the school if a development application is approved.
A Material Change of Use application to transform the school's current grounds and maintenance facility into a new, two-storey collaborative learning space has recently been received by Council.
Mr McMahon said the growth of the school had spurred the development application.
“The College is growing and we will add an extra 100 students in 2020,” he said.
“This is a result of a small Year 12 class graduating and a normal size cohort beginning their studies in Year 7.”
“The new two-storey classroom block will give us 14 new teaching spaces.”
Mr McMahon said the school would relocate the grounds and maintenance facilities to a different site on campus to make room for the teaching space.
“The new classrooms will provide much more modern facilities with very flexible spaces for cooperative learning,” he said.
“This building will also give us the capacity to take a current teaching block ‘off-line’ as a part of a refurbishment process.”
Mr McMahon said the spaces would be flexible and rooms could be combined if required.
“There will be lots of internal glass which will enable teachers to work cooperatively and for students to use the numerous break out spaces,” he said.
“The building will also have good spaces for staff to work.”
Unique developments taking off in Bundaberg
Council's Planning and Development portfolio spokesperson Cr Ross Sommerfeld said the two major applications submitted by Shalom College came at a time when the region was experiencing a development boom.
“We have recently seen some very unique development applications including a new medical centre at Hinkler Central, student accommodation in the centre of the CBD and plans for the aviation precinct on Airport Drive,” he said.
“It shows the confidence that developers have in our region and the growth that is being experienced across multiple industries within our area.”