BIS awarded Capital Grant funding for major works

In late 2017 BIS was awarded a capital grant from the Education Department to commence major works at the school. We caught up with current Board Chair, Jodie Jetann to find out more about the process and the projected works.

Hi Jodie, could you explain what the Capital Grant is?

The Australian and State Government (ASG) Capital Grant Program provides Catholic and Independent schools with funding to help improve school infrastructure. To apply you must be a non-government primary or secondary school; a member of the relevant state or territory’s Block Grant Authority (BGA); and be able to satisfy the Minister that financial assistance is needed.

Grants awarded range anywhere from 30-50 cents in each dollar spent on the project. Each application is unique and funding depends on the needs and justifications submitted in the application.

The BIS BGA application was projected to be $1.667 million and the BGA approved the project for $1.574 million offering $800,000 from the State. That is funding of 50.8 cents for every dollar, which is an excellent result.

What did the application process consist of?

It was competitive process, applications are assessed based on educational and financial need using a range of indicators.  Schools applying for ASG capital assistance are required to complete the BGA Applicant School Agreement comprising of an extensive general element, an in-depth financial element, and an interview process with the BGA Board.

Due to our teaching methods the space we require for our students at BIS is more than what is usually expected/allocated by the general BGA guidelines. So extensive, detailed justification was required to successfully convey what BIS is all about and ensure funding for the buildings we require.

Jen, her Admin team, and the Board were involved in the application process. BIS also engaged an experienced consultant to assist in the writing and financial forecasting aspects of the application.  An architect who specializes in school designs helped plan and design the proposed new areas and spaces.  The architect will also project-manage the works through to completion.

What is the larger plan for the grant; what is being built?

BIS has proposed building several new spaces in a staged process. The first stage is  a new library and technology area. The second stage will be the new administration space and a new classroom.  This will comprise of a learning support room, a group learning room and an extended learning area. Student and staff toilet amenities, car parking upgrades and associated site works will also be included.

BIS is now 50 years old, and many areas of the infrastructure are in need of significant upgrades, including the classrooms, sewerage systems, amenities, car park areas, technology, library space, walkways, meeting and support rooms.

The buildings proposed in the first stage will allow us to upgrade existing infrastructure without disturbing the day to day operation of the school. It will allow us to accommodate all our students with the essential learning spaces BIS requires, and have a modern administration space that has the capabilities to run a successful school. The plan is to renovate and upgrade the entire school over the next 7-12yrs.

What can we expect to see happen this year?

Our application was approved by the State Education Minister in Nov 2017 and we have 2 years to commence the first stage of works.  We are currently finalising some details with the architect and BGA on our proposed spaces, then we will sign off on the BGA Recipient School Agreement and are hoping to start the Council applications for development approval no later than mid-year.   

Is there anywhere interested folks can go to get more information?

People can always jump online and look up ‘Capital Grant Program’ or come and have a chat to Jen or myself.  We are currently wanting to add one or two BIS community members to the Capital Grant Project Team.  I recently posted a message on School Stream under the ‘Board group’ for anyone interested in getting more involved on this project.  We would love some community involvement.

On behalf of everyone, congratulations and thanks to all those who worked so hard in navigating the process, putting together the application and securing the grant. It’s an excellent outcome for the school, allowing BIS to continue to be at the forefront of progressive education in Australia and we look forward to talking to you again as the project progresses.