Main construction works to rebuild Empire Vale Public began yesterday (Wednesday, 31 January 2024), close to two years on from the catastrophic Northern Rivers floods which caused major damage at the school.
Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery Janelle Saffin joined the school community to celebrate the beginning of the project.
The works will retain the original school heritage building and will deliver new modern flood-resilient classrooms and facilities including a library, a canteen and administration area, undercover learning, a yarning circle, and landscaping to complement the school’s surroundings.
Students will return to learning this year at Southern Cross Public School while their school is under construction.
The project is part of the NSW Labor Government’s expansive plan to rebuild better, more flood resilient schools for Northern Rivers students and their families.
Planning approval has also been granted to rebuild flood damaged Wardell Public School and demolition works to prepare the site are underway.
Additionally, development applications for Broadwater Public School and Blakebrook Public School have been lodged with their respective councils following the completion of detailed designs for the schools.
Empire Vale Public School and Wardell Public School are expected to be completed by mid-2024, and Broadwater Public School and Blakebrook Public School are anticipated to be completed by the end of the year, pending planning approvals.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said:
“I am pleased to see works beginning at Empire Vale Public School, as planning progress continues at Wardell Public School.
“The NSW Labor Government is committed to completing the repairs and works needed in the Northern Rivers, so we can ensure the community has its sense of permanency and stability returned.”
Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery and Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin said:
“Beginning works at Empire Vale Public School is so important, as our community looks to rebuild with resilience and strength.
“I look forward to sharing news as works progress on schools in the region.”
Empire Vale Public School Principal Bonita Avery said:
“I am delighted to welcome the start of the construction of our school. This is the beginning of a new chapter for our school community.
“We all look forward to the delivery of our new school and the positive impact it will have on students, teachers, and families.”