By Colin MacGillivray
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews made a visit to Donnybrook last week to inspect the site of the under-construction Hayes Hill Primary School, due to open its doors next year.
Mr Andrews joined Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green, Labor candidate for Yan Yean Lauren Kathage and representatives from the Victorian School Building Authority, VSBA, and building contractor Kane Constructions at the site for a tour.
The Premier did not make a statement or answer media questions during his visit, but talked with project leaders about its progress.
Ms Kathage said the Hayes Hill Primary School was on track to open for term one in 2023 and would support a rapidly growing population.
“What we’re hearing from the crews on site is how impressed they are that we’re one step ahead of the growth,” she said.
“The school is going to anchor the local community, and we’ll see the community built from here with sporting clubs and the like.
“My daughter starts prep next year so I’m taking a keen interest in all the local schools. It’s very exciting.”
Ms Green said Mr Andrews often made site visits to new schools and other construction projects to monitor their progress.
“He’s always got his finger on the pulse with these sorts of things,” she said.
“I can’t think of a school in this area that was built under his watch that he didn’t come visit, and I lost count of the number of times he came and visited with the Mernda rail project.
“He said he wants to catch up and do more, so I have no doubt we’ll see him out here a lot.”
The VSBA’s Mohammed Qaoud said the school build was progressing on time, with a concrete slab for the school’s community building poured and steel beams in place.
Architect Mark van den Enden said he helped design the school with a growing Donnybrook community in mind.
“We start from first principles in terms of education planning and pedagogy, but also in terms of understanding a future community and how the school will key into that,” he said.
“I told the premier that schools play a pivotal role in the development of emerging communities, but also the development of sporting groups.
“They are the anchor, so it’s really important in establishing the community.”
Mr van den Enden praised Kane Constructions for remaining on track with the project despite some setbacks.
“There is a lot on their shoulders but they are doing a great job at getting it going quickly. That is despite challenges of material shortages and also inclement weather,” he said.
“The next step is to put massive structural steel into the community building and then we’ll see cladding happening pretty quickly after that.”