CONSTRUCTION is expected to start in the next fortnight on a new Catholic high school in Medowie, after the government approved a $110 million development application for a precinct catering for toddlers to teenagers.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has approved the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle's application for its Medowie Road site.
Early works are due to start on August 28 on the precinct's $43.2 million first stage - the diocese, Catholic Schools Office and parents have contributed $39.6 million - which comprises Catherine McAuley Catholic College's administration block, general purpose learning areas, learning support, food technology, learning hub/library, STEM facility and chapel.
The precinct's first stage will also include a St Nicholas Early Education Centre.
College foundation principal Scott Donohoe said the diocese had received more than 120 inquiries from families wishing to enrol.
It will take year seven and eight students from 2021.
"I'm very excited about the prospect of a blank canvas and building a strong culture and community," Mr Donohoe said.
"It's been a long time in the making for many families and we're looking forward to providing a Catholic education for those students."
He said while it had been "frustrating" that planning issues had delayed the school's opening from 2020 to 2021 - a diocese spokesperson pointed to "unexpected setbacks due to onerous conditions and delayed responses from the Department of Planning" - it had allowed him more time to consider his learner-centered vision for the school.
"The world is changing quickly and the need for learning on the job is greater than ever," he said.
"We want to develop young people who have those capabilities and competencies to be both career and life ready.
"The college will be a community that values relationships and endeavours to build strong partnerships."
He said the college hoped to bring forward the second of its six major stages and have the technology and applied studies and visual arts facilities along with more general purpose learning areas open for 2021.
An application is with the Catholic Block Grant Authority.
Mr Donohoe said the college would launch its "visual identity" including a school crest next term.
"It's a very contemporary and exciting crest that connects very closely with the area, environment and the Aboriginal and Worimi people," he said.
When complete, the college will accommodate 1200 students. Construction of the precinct will be in six stages over eight years and include a primary school and the remainder of the college.
Mr Donohoe will meet with year five and six students this year and hold a parent information session next month.
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