Asked who could barely sleep last night due to excitement about their new school, dozens of Googong Primary School students raised their hands.
The school’s inaugural students and their families were welcomed through the gates of the $57.5 million facility on Tuesday (31 January).
Googong local Zainab, who is going into year 1, was excited to be in the same space as her friends from the town.
“In playtime it will be really nice, I can play with them,” she said.
Fellow year 1 student James wasn’t sure what he was looking forward to most, but overall he was feeling good.
“I was up early this morning … I’m excited to play with everyone,” he said.
Year 2 student Parker said he was feeling many emotions.
“Nervous, fun, exciting, and I can see all my friends again,” he said.
Queanbeyan Network of Schools Educational Leadership director Fiona Senior-Conroy said she was sure each child would return home either “buzzing with joy” or exhausted from such an exciting day.
“One student said to me, ‘I’m really excited there are Pokemon books in the library’, so I’m sure they’ve already put their mark down to borrow those,” she said.
“Another talked to me about how beautiful the hall was and another said, ‘I can’t wait to get into my classroom’.”
The children and their parents weren’t the only ones excited to have the school open for business.
Principal Rebekah Lindsay said she was so proud of all the work the staff, builders, P&C and School Infrastructure had done to get everything ready to welcome the students for day one, term one, of 2023.
“I’m just amazed looking around at you all inside these walls,” she said.
“It’s what I’ve dreamed of for the last 12 months, and it’s actually quite overwhelming looking out and seeing you all in our school.”
Monaro MP Nichole Overall said it was an honour to be with everyone on such an emotional and exciting day.
“I’m probably as excited as I’ve been since my very first day of school,” she said.
Ms Overall admitted it had been a “challenge” to get the school ready for opening, but this was still a proud day.
“To be able to see this happen before your very eyes – and there were many doubters that we could get it done – but here we are today together and now it’s as we look forward to our future together and what more we’re going to see develop and have happen for this wonderful community,” she said.
The new school has 30 flexible learning spaces, three support classrooms, administration facilities, a library, a hall and a covered outdoor learning area, which have all been completed.
However, due to wet-weather delays, the school has been opened in stages, with work still to be done on the hard landscaping, installing the play equipment and constructing the permanent kiss-and-drop zone on Wilkins Way.
Ms Overall said builders were working to have the second stage done as quickly as possible, but there was no firm end date.
The exact details of the play equipment would be decided by school staff, particularly Mrs Lindsay.
“She’s going to see what she needs, what the students need, have the input of the kids no doubt as well,” Ms Overall said.
Plans are underway to acquire nine hectares of land for Googong’s first public high school, which Ms Overall said could also potentially facilitate the expansion of the primary school if needed in the future.
“We have the opportunity to be able to expand this campus,” she said.
“[A second site] is certainly one of the options that can be considered, dependent on the growth of this school as well, so it’s just a wonderful back-up to be able to have that so that the community can have confidence that we have plenty available to us for the continued growth of education in Googong.”
It’s not the only new school to open in the Monaro area today, with students welcomed into temporary facilities at Jerrabomberra High and Bungendore High as works continue on their permanent builds.