Bli Bli set to greet new school

By Ed Hackenberg

Sunshine Coast Daily 28 October, 2016 – Stuart Cumming

THE Catholic Church has launched the next stage of its push to build a new school on the Sunshine Coast.

Brisbane Catholic Education has applied for government funding for a Prep to Year 12 co-educational college on Parklakes Dr at Bli Bli.

If successful the school’s catchment area will take in students from Bli Bli, Coolum Beach, Marcoola, Mudjimba, Maroochydore, Kuluin, Diddilibah, Rosemount, Eumundi and the eastern fringe of Nambour.

Brisbane Catholic Education communications manager John Phelan said it would cater for up to 1500 students and about 135 staff when completely developed.

But not all year levels will be available when it first opens.

The target date for opening the as yet unnamed school is January 2019.

“At this stage it is planned to commence with Prep to Year 3 in primary and Year 7 in secondary, adding a year level in each sector each year, with the first Year 12 students to graduate in 2024,” Mr Phelan said.

“But this remains subject to change.”

State accreditation and federal capital grant funding are still needed.

“The application for accreditation through the Non State Schools Accreditation Board needs to be assessed and approved by the minister and an application for (federal) capital funding assistance similarly needs to be assessed and approved by the minister before construction can commence.”

Mr Phelan said Bli Bli’s central location would provide additional enrolment opportunities for families in the central portion of the Sunshine Coast.

He said the area between Maroochydore and Sunshine Beach was not particularly well-served by Catholic schools.

“The new school at Bli Bli will reduce enrolment pressure on our other schools in the region providing additional enrolment opportunities for families that want a Catholic education for their children.

“Demographics indicate substantial growth of the school age population on the Sunshine Coast in coming years.”

He said enrolment at all Brisbane Catholic Education schools on the Sunshine Coast was at or over capacity.

“Population growth in the area is a general driver of demand, but our Catholic schools have a fine reputation for providing quality education in a caring and nurturing environment which parents naturally find desirable.”

Mr Phelan said Brisbane Catholic Education planned to open several new schools on the Coast in the next 20 years.

He said specifics were not yet determined and would be determined by population growth and the availability of suitable land.

“Brisbane Catholic Education will continue to monitor population growth on the Sunshine Coast, as it does across South East Queensland, and provide additional schooling opportunities according to demand.”

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