Community wants a say on future of school

Veresdale Scrub State School’s 123 year old building.
Veresdale Scrub State School’s 123 year old building.

Veresdale Scrub residents are calling for consultation on the future of their original school.

The Education Department is considering whether to ‘upgrade or repair’ the 123-year-old building after an engineer’s report in August 2021 found it was ‘in poor condition and currently not fit-for-purpose’.

Veresdale Scrub locals are yet to receive any direct correspondence, but a letter beginning with ‘dear resident’ sent to parents, but not local residents, has set tongues wagging.

Long-time local Lynette Larrescy, who completed her schooling in the original building in the 1960s, said she wanted to have a say.

“That was the only building we had, and the old play shed,” she said.

“I know it’s old, but I wouldn’t appreciate it at all if it was demolished. I think we should have a say as local residents.”

In response to an enquiry from the Beaudesert Bulletin, the Department blamed recent flooding for delays in the consultation process and provided the following statement.

“The Department of Education and Veresdale Scrub State School are continuing to look at options for Block A and will present these findings to the school community in Term 2,” it said.

“An initial letter was issued to parents in November 2021, outlining proposed works planned for the school. The school and wider community are encouraged to provide feedback via buildingfutureschools@qed.qld.gov.au

“We apologise for any delays to the process caused by the unprecedented flooding event. Veresdale Scrub SS will continue to keep the school community informed as the project progresses.

“Further planning activities, including the development of any plans required for the project, will commence after Term 2.”

Member for Scenic Rim Jon Krause said recent flooding was no excuse.

“It’s very poor form for the Department of Education to blame the floods for a lack of consultation when this whole process has been in train since at least September 2021. That really looks more like an excuse for failing to do something they promised to do – consult – than anything else,” he said.

“I understand people’s desire to protect the heritage of their district, and there’s so many memories tied up in people’s old schools – but on the other hand, obviously this needs to be weighed up with safety concerns and cost factors.

“If the department is continuing to look at options for Block A (the original school building), as it says it is, then it should consider how that building could be incorporated into an extended, modern school block that would achieve two things – protect the heritage and deliver a new school facility.

“In all of this process, the department must ensure the broader community has a say – as they promised, and as I have urged them to do.”

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