EXCITING DISCOVERY: Ballina High School students Dominique Gray (left) and Anna Hunt at the new Marine Discovery Centre.
EXCITING DISCOVERY: Ballina High School students Dominique Gray (left) and Anna Hunt at the new Marine Discovery Centre.

Building a dream come true for school

By MARY MANN and GRAHAM BROADHEAD A HUGE smile and one simple word ? terrific ? is how Ballina High School head teacher Mick O'Connor described a new building for the school's award-winning Marine Discovery Centre.

Taking a look a the construction site yesterday with Year 11 students Dominique Gray and Anna Hunt, Mr O'Connor spoke about the huge benefits the building would provide.

However, the school still needed funding to fit it out, he said.

The building is being erected on the Martin Street side of the school, funded by a $150,000 Federal Government Investing in Our Schools grant.

Mr O'Connor said the school had been trying to build a Marine Discovery Centre for the past 20 years.

The marine programs have been taught to local students, as well as students from around the State, in that time.

"While there is widespread community and political recognition for the groundbreaking marine educational programs offered by the centre, we have not been able to attract the funding we really need, and still rely heavily on the local community for support," he said.

"We are fortunate to have an extremely supportive P&C, which has been able to secure the Federal Government funding."

He said the students were excited about the project and proud to have it at their school.

The 24m-by-9m building has a wave-shaped roof to reflect the marine environment.

The theme for the Marine Discovery Centre will be sustainable use of the marine environment.

It will be open to the public for night lectures and environmental tours.

The P&C is now after funding for Stage Two, which will allow a mezzanine floor, holding a series of interactive displays, to be built over two of the six-metre bays inside. To complete Stage One, the school relied on donations of materials or labour from Ballina Shire Council, NUCON Concrete, Wayne Shepherd Concreting, Nick Bessling Bobcat Hire and Ballina Concrete Pumping. The construction was completed by Williams River Steel.



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