Monday, July 9, 2012

the school holiday senior area makeover!

The dream has certainly started to become reality!

Here's the before shots of our Senior Area and dismal reception!

This time last year the admin team had a bright idea of re-developing the senior area, following a few meetings and brainstorming, we came up with the idea of building a large undercover area and re-surfacing the ground.  Currently there is no undercover area for our students to shelter from the sun or rain and the ground is covered with old block pavers that are cracked, lifting and uneven.  Our students trip and fall and our wheelchairs get stuck!

Our grand designs looked awesome, the only problem was how, when and what with, i.e. what available funds!  The 2011 Finance Committee and School Council agreed that this was a project worth saving for and we agreed to put all our donated and fundraising funds into this project.   With the help of HMAS Stirling and their charity golf day late 2011 we finally looked like we were getting there, we certainly had the funds to build the undercover area and we were on the way to pay for the concreting, or so we thought!  After official quotes it looked liked we were never going to make it….until the help once again of Trevor Symes and his helpful Navy Working Parties and Navy Personnel and Mark Samuels and all his contacts from Camping World Rockingham.

The team started the planning along with the whole community, we received an enormous response for assistance and have had many shows of hands for volunteer groups to come and work on our project, from Earthworks, Tree Loppers, teams of Concreters, School Staff and approx. 20 Navy Personnel.

Day 1
The works began as soon as school was out, Don from Don’s Tree Lopper’s and his crew who with only 2 days notice was happy to come in and remove 3 large gum trees, it was sad to see the trees go however the root systems were killing the grounds and would have lifted the concrete within only a few months.  Special thanks to Don for his assistance and I know we pushed our luck with the time frame and budget but thanks for your help!

Day 2
A crew of approx. 30 Navy personnel organised by the working parties group from HMAS Stirling arrived just after 7.30 am….it was freezing to say the least! 
All but 3 began work on clearing the old blocks from the Senior Area, we thought it would take all day the amount of blocks that we had to take up!  We had stumps that needed removing left over from the Tree’s, within an hour they were being cut up ready to be taken away.  Within less than three hours the whole senior area had been cleared!  With the assistance from Kwik Skips we also managed to get all the blocks taken away and with the help from Rockingham council we also managed to dump the old blocks without it costing us an arm and a leg!

A fine morning tea was had by all, keeping warm in the staff room followed by a sausage sizzle BBQ for lunch!

Whilst this was going on we were also having our reception area painted by the other 3 navy personnel….the old brick again was looking dated and dark, we wanted to create a light and airy entrance into the school, somewhere where we can show off our amazing student photos.

As we finished the Senior Area the crew tackled a few odd jobs around the school, some helped Marc our Horticulture expert as he worked on the Horticulture garden for the Senior School program, some worked on another one of our veggie planters.  Trevor’s wife has donated home grown Strawberry and Tomato plants for our students to plant and grow, we hope this produce will feed back into the cafĂ© too!  Some of the crew also did some work in the playgrounds and the rest moved onto the painting job!

It was truly amazing to see the work being done by the crew and all for our school community.  

Next stop the Verandah goes up!

Then the Senior Area is now preped and ready for the next crew of community volunteers to hit it!  

Day 3

The painting continued with thanks to the Navy crew we got all of the main reception area complete.

Day 4 

The patio construction commenced and the painting continued to all of the front of the internal walls of the school.  

Day 5
The Patio was finished and the earthworks began!  

With a little help from Miss T Mason and her mum along with Trevor and Jackie we also ended up with a new strawberry garden!  Jackie (Trevor's) wife very kindly donated all her home grown strawberry plants and came along to plant them in our newly soiled planter in the veggie garden.  We hope that these strawberries will turn into perhaps a strawberry tart or strawberry muffins in our cafe one day soon!  Thanks everyone for your help.

Day 6
Following completion of the earthworks the concreting teams began setting out. 
Day 7
The Navy put together another working party and came to assist the concreting teams with the setting out and prep for the concreting to be poured, what another awesome job everyone did! Mark Samuels along with many grano workers set to and started the major prep works and setting out.  The steel mesh arrived finally after a few delays and phone calls.  This was laid and pegged down ready for the dirt to arrive the following day.

Day 8
It was an extremely cold start to the day, 3 degrees was showing on my car as I drove into school at 7am.  There were already many of the grano’s here, I think they were wondering what they had got themselves into! 
The Navy working party crew arrived and the wheelbarrows were out waiting for the first truck to arrive.  Tomo had organised with BGC for a truck to arrive every 10 minutes…..the frist truck arrived on the dot 8am.  This is when the fun began.  The Navy crew did the barrowing whilst the grano teams set to and did their thing… was just amazing to watch as the crews all worked harmoniously together and all voluntary.  There were even members of other crews who had heard of the work we were doing for the school and came along to lend a helping hand.

We would like to say a very special thanks to Trevor Syme (Chief Petty Officer Senior Equity Adviser, HMAS STIRLING) and Mark Samuels (Camping World Rockingham and father of Connor) who assisted us in bringing this project together.  Without Trevor and Mark we would not have been able to pull this off in the time frame we did and at the cost we did!  

We also would like to pass on our sincere gratitude to all the local businesses and trades who all donated their time and energy to our school.  The many businesses who have been part of this project have all made our dream of a better and more useful senior area for our students come to reality.  There are been many crews especially the grano workers who without your generosity and voluntary time and effort we simply would have not achieved our goal, thank you.