What fate awaits Meander School?

Meander School closure

What fate awaits Meander School?

JUNE 2015 | Marguerite McNeill

THERE IS an air of expectation and speculation at Meander where residents are waiting to discover the future of the former Meander Primary School site.

The once proud little school that nurtured the hopes and dreams of children for more than 100 years, has sat sadly silent since its doors closed for the last time in December last year. Students who might have attended it in 2015 have settled in others and its echoes of busy classrooms, playground chatter and laughter have gone.

Gone too is the drawcard that has involved so many community members throughout the years. Now locals are hoping that a new enterprise will bring life back to the site and help reinvigorate the Meander community.

However, a major stumbling block is the question of ownership.

The Meander Valley Council has declined an offer from the Department of Education to assume its ownership under the current terms, but has expressed a willingness to work with the department and the Minister for Education and Training to achieve an outcome suitable to it and its future use.

Meander Valley general manager Greg Preece said Council already owned the Meander Hall and the adjacent playground and could not justify the cost of maintaining another public facility in the Meander area.

He believes it would benefit the community more if the property were to be developed as a commercial enterprise.

Meanwhile, Council has written to the Minister for Education and Training to request more information regarding its condition and offered to engage in further talks on its future.

Mr Preece hopes that an agreement can be reached, whereby Council faces no added costs but facilitates and coordinates the process of bringing the vacated school ground back to life.

In that event, Council will explore its new commercial and general uses with the help of community consultation.

Education Department Manager of Asset and Planning, Todd Williams said that under government guidelines, the Meander School site could be transferred to Council at no cost.

As Crown Land it could not be transferred to any other body, but the property was surplus to Government’s requirements and if there were no agreement with Council, a new owner would be sought.

 

 Mike Moores