Delivered on time and under budget, a dynamic new boarding house at The Armidale School has welcomed its first residents.
The first new student residence constructed at an Armidale school since the late 1980s, the three-storey development will cater for 64 boarders and three residential staff and is Stage One of a facility that will ultimately accommodate 130 female students.
Just 13 months after the first trenches were dug, the construction team from Rice Constructions, TAS maintenance staff, Business Manager Pat Bradley and Project Manager Stewart McRae worked right up until the day before term started to complete landscaping work in time to welcome boarders.
Girls’ boarding captain Ellen Coote from Moree said the new house was “just fantastic”.
“More than its facilities though, it’s just really special being all together. When the first 15 of us started boarding in 2015 it was really incredible and we had to make our way together. Now there are almost 60 of us, it’s just as important that each of the girls feels just as included as we did on the first day.”
The new facility is full of life, with 58 girl boarders from Years 6-12 moving in on Monday. Junior girls share quad rooms, with Year 11s generally in twin rooms while Year 12 girls have their own study bedroom. A generous common room and kitchenette on the ground floor is complemented by smaller, breakout spaces on all levels. Other facilities include music practice rooms (one with a piano) and laundry.
Also living in the safe, modern environment are three residential staff, who along with the Head of House and Deputy Head of House, have a keen interest in the happiness and welfare of the girls in their care.
In time, Middle School girl boarders will revert to Dangar Moyes, home of girl boarders for the past two years, which will replicate the boarding structure for boys.
“Rice Constructions Group has been incredible in overcoming challenges caused by wet weather delays earlier last year, along with the co-operation of various sub-contractors,” Mr Badley said.
Headmaster Murray Guest said the School was also grateful to Armidale Regional Council for its considered and timely approval of the development.
“With more than 230 students living on campus, the new facility will allow us to meet demand for the growth we are experiencing,” he said. “This is an exciting development that is not only a good thing for TAS but for Armidale and New England as well,” he said.
Construction is being financed through a commercial arrangement between the TAS Foundation and Regional Australia Bank, with no funding coming from school fees paid by parents nor the Federal or State governments.