The schematic design of the canteen and covered outdoor learning area at Lennox Head Public School, as planned by the NSW Department of Education's School Infrastructure branch.
The schematic design of the canteen and covered outdoor learning area at Lennox Head Public School, as planned by the NSW Department of Education's School Infrastructure branch.

Hope for school upgrade despite discovery of buried treasure

NEW classrooms may be built after all at a bursting-at-the-seams North Coast school.

Lennox Head Public School's major upgrade works hit a major hurdle when initial site investigations revealed a significant finding of almost 600 Aboriginal artefacts.

P&C treasurer Sonja Maier said since the finding of a surface artefact in late 2017 and subsequent investigations last year, they had received little information about the potential progress of the eight new classrooms and other facilities planned for the school.

The school has since converted the staff room and other specialised spaces into classrooms to squeeze in its growing student population, Ms Maier said.

A spokeswoman for Office of Environment and Heritage said the NSW Department of Education had been granted a Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit for the school's redevelopment on November 12 last year.

It's understood ten test pits revealed about 596 artefacts about a month later.

The OEH spokeswoman said the permit was valid for 10 years and "enabled works including building demolition, landscaping of grounds, establishment of demountable buildings, removal and re-establishment of the basketball court, construction of new buildings, and the re-establishment of ground works, entrances and signage".

"OEH approved a variation to the AHIP in December 2018, which authorised a new salvage methodology to minimise the impact of the redevelopment on the Aboriginal cultural heritage assets, which had been negotiated by the NSW Department of Education, their consultant and the Aboriginal community," she said.

She said the Department of Education had asked OEH about the possibility of a further variation to the permit "to enable potentially urgent maintenance works ... the repair of underground pipes and replacement of pavers".

She said that additional variation would be prioritised once received by her department.

She said the AHIP was issued based on "works that were proposed at the time, as outlined in the AHIP application".



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