Grand plans for Gympie High
TO look to their future Gympie State High School must relinquish a treasured piece of its past. Principal Murray Wegner says the heritage grandstand erected above Hanger Oval in the years following World War 2 is to make way for a 21st Century learning space. But the decision is tinged with more than a little regret. Thanks to a cash injection from the Building the Education Revolution program, a $1.9 million science and language centre will be built on the site and will feature two state-of-the-art science laboratories and two language centre classrooms. The complex will also have provision for a staffroom and a storage room. Acting head of science, Eric Syme, said the new centre would “future-proof” science teaching for many decades to come. The decision to remove the structure has not been an easy one and there has been plenty of discussion as to how it could be retained. In the end, it was a matter of head versus heart, Mr Wegner said. “Because of the changing nature of interschool sport the grandstand has had minimal use during the last 30 years,” he said. With the school’s centenary approaching in 2012, he said at one stage the renovation of the grand stand was considered as a major project to coincide with celebrations. However, after consulting with engineers it was ruled out. “You have a different set of safety and building standards now… we did explore every option.” The grandstand contains a plaque that reads “Erected in memory of past pupils who fell in World Wars 1 and 2.” Mr Wegner said the intention is to have the plaque re-set into the wall of the new centre and have a re-dedication ceremony at an appropriate time. The school is keen to see the grandstand re-homed in its entirety if at all possible. Ralph Richardson, Gympie Historical Society secretary said they would be very interested in relocating the grandstand, however he said the key issue would be where it might go. He said there were very few grandstands of this type left. People interested in removing the structure are invited to contact Gympie State High School on 5489 8333 and speak with the Business Services Manager or Principal.