16 June 2023

Demolition postponed for several facilities near proposed site of new Bungendore school

| Claire Sams
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Artist's impression of the entry forecourt to the new Bungendore High School.

Artist’s impression of the entry forecourt to the new Bungendore High School from Majara Street. Photo: NSW Dept of Education.

In the latest development regarding Bungendore High School, several community facilities have had their lifespans extended.

Under the proposed plans for Bungendore High School, Bungendore Pool would be demolished and replaced with a new pool that would be part of the Bungendore Sports Hub.

In February 2023, a Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (QPRC) spokesperson had said the pool would “close at the end of this summer swim season”.

Member for Monaro, Steve Whan, confirmed the pool will remain open into 2024.

“Changes to the high school plans are now being worked through so that the pool can stay open for the 2023/24 swimming season,” he said.

In the June 2023 project update, the New South Wales Government said the new school would be able to accommodate around 450 students, once built, and would include a library, canteen, multipurpose hall, sports courts and an agricultural plot.

The proposed site for the new school would also necessitate the demolition of Bungendore Community Centre and QPRC’s offices – both of which will remain open for a short time.

The Bungendore Community Centre will remain open until 30 September 2023, while Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council offices will remain open until 31 July 2023.

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“Finding alternative accommodation for the groups using the community centre is critical but when I found out that still had not been organised I did advocate an extension,” Mr Whan said.

The leases to the community centre and council offices have been extended, according to the project update.

Mr Whan said the pool had been well used by the community.

“The swimming pool is a summer focal point for Bungendore and the community feedback clearly showed how important it is; I did criticise the fact that closure had happened without a replacement and have acted on it,” he said.

“Having a local place for swimming lessons, squad, laps and summer recreation is critical.

“Unfortunately, I can’t promise there will be no gap in provision of a pool but at least we will have shortened the gap.”

The controversial site of the new school had been the topic of fierce community debate in recent years.

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The site chosen for the carpark also contained lead and arsenic, as well as other chemicals, according to an Environmental Protection Authority declaration released earlier this year.

In the project update, the NSW Government said that an independent consultant carried out an investigation in July 2022, and found the site was suitable.

High school-aged students remain in demountables on the grounds of Bungendore Public School.

“The previous government made a mess of this process, and it has left Labor with few options, but keeping the pool open a bit longer is one we can take,” Mr Whan said.

“We are committed to a high school and I remain committed to my promise not to have students in demountables any longer than necessary.”

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