THE VICTORIAN premier says he hopes to be back at the Daylesford Secondary College to open new school buildings in the middle of 2018.
Daniel Andrews visited the college on Friday for a tour of facilities, some of which were ravaged by fire at the end of last year.
In 2014 Mr Andrews committed $10 million to rebuild the college’s science and technology facilities as well as its library.
“What we hope, with the architects appointed and some intensive planning going on at the moment, we hope to be out to market and have a builder appointed by the end of the year,” Mr Andrews said.
“It is then a 12 to 18-month build from then.
“If we could be back here in the middle of the 2018 academic year, maybe a little earlier, to open those buildings, that would be a great outcome.”
While the fire has had a dramatic impact on the school community, Mr Andrews said it had burnt down a number of buildings that were already set for demolition.
“I think much of the footprint that has been burnt down was due to be replaced with the $10 million commitment we have made,” he said.
“Now I don't say that to diminish the challenge that this school has had to go through, but in some ways there has been difficulties this year but those buildings were set to be knocked down and replaced.
“That is no comfort when you have to deal with the trauma and the impact it has when they (students) began the school year.”
Daylesford Secondary College principal Graeme Holmes said it was fantastic to have the premier visit and see the damage caused by the fire and some of the older facilities first hand.
“It (the fire) has had a significant effect, there is no doubt about that, yes the buildings were going to be demolished but we still needed those rooms, we still needed our science rooms, we still needed our library, we were going to use those while we built (the new buildings) in a different location,” he said.
“We will just have to rethink our plans a little bit, it won’t make a huge difference, but it will make a difference.”
Mr Holmes said the school community had been very supportive during the difficult start to the year.
“The kids have settled in very well, they understand and they have been very appreciative of what we have done.”