Headmaster’s Message – July 31, 2015

July 30, 2015

Dear Parents, Guardians, Students and Friends of St Patrick’s College,

It is with much anticipation that I announce some exciting new plans St Patrick’s College has to greatly enhance boarding facilities at our wonderful school.

The College has received in-principle approval from its governing body, Edmund Rice Education Australia, to proceed with initial planning to construct a new boarding precinct in the north-west corner of the College. This exciting project will guarantee the long-term viability of boarding at St Patrick’s College.

The proposed new boarding precinct will include purpose-built accommodation for approximately 75 boarders, incorporating specific study, dining and recreational areas.- It will enable all boarding students to live in the one precinct, replacing the current structure where students are in disparate houses. The new precinct will enhance safety and security for your sons as it will minimise the need for boys to move around the College at night. Importantly, the revamp will also allow us to provide improved and more spacious accommodation for students as well as boarding staff and their families.

This new, yet-to-be-named precinct, is planned to be completed in readiness for the start of the 2017 school year.

For construction to commence in 2016, some changes need be introduced to our boarding structure for next year. In 2016, we will only operate two boarding houses. Kenny House and Phyland-Farley House will continue to be open, however, Nangle House will need to be closed. All students presently living in Nangle House will be incorporated into either Kenny or Phyland-Farley. The closing of Nangle House will allow the building project to be carried out seamlessly and without disruption to our normal boarding or school routine. – The College Board has given its support to this arrangement for 2016.

To ensure comfort and safety for all boarding students, the College is restricting the number of new boarding students who will be enrolled in 2016. All returning boarding students are guaranteed their place in the boarding program in 2016. It is important to note that the College remains committed to growing its Indigenous program further in 2016 and will enrol six new Indigenous boarding students. The maximum number of boarders the College will enrol in 2016 is 43.

The building of a purpose-built facility will have significant flow-on benefits for all students enrolled at St Patrick’s College. It will enable the construction of new classrooms in both Kenny House and in the area presently used as the kitchen and boarders’ dining room, including the construction of two new, state-of-the-art Food Technology classrooms. – This Food Technology area will commence construction later this year. The College is presently exploring options to maximise future use of Phyland-Farley House.

It is important to note that the College has budgeted carefully to finance this construction project. It is expected that the College will secure a loan to finance the development as well as a fund-raising campaign to help offset the cost.

As mentioned earlier in this letter, we have to this point received in-principle approval from the EREA. The EREA board next meets in September and is expected to formally ratify this development at that meeting. Following that, the College will continue to work closely with the College Board, our architects, the City of Ballarat and neighbouring residences to ensure the final design of the development is amendable to all parties.

This exciting project represents a significant investment in the future of boarding at St Patrick’s College, continuing a proud tradition which extends back to 1893. The College’s commitment to providing quality education and accommodation to fine young men from all over Australia through our boarding program is strong and we are investing significantly in its growth.

The College will continue to update the community regarding this vital and transformative project over the coming weeks and months. However, should you have any queries or concerns I invite you to make contact with me through the College office.

Last Sunday, our Chamber Choir sang at 10.30am Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral. It was a wonderful celebration of liturgy and music, and all who attended commented on how beautifully our choir sounded. Congratulations to Michael Murphy on preparing the choir so well and to Katrina Bird and Victoria Moore for helping with the occasion.

I would also like to congratulate our Director of Rugby, Mr. Leigh McKee on a fabulous year in Rugby. Our four teams have played to a consistently high standard thanks to some superb coaching by Father James Kerr (Under 13), Leigh McKee (Under 14), Michael Porter (under 16) and Mike Silcock (1st XV).- There is a huge time commitment required from our coaches and their level of commitment and dedication to this important program is greatly appreciated. At the time of writing this editorial, our 1st XV team is preparing for a semi-final match against Xavier College. It promises to be a great event, and on behalf of the St Patrick’s College community, we wish all of our boys and Mr Silcock well.

Our 1st XVIII Senior Football team yesterday defeated St Joseph’s College Geelong in a close encounter at Port Melbourne. Our program continues to grow in strength and size, and I would like to acknowledge Howard Clark, Gavin Webb and Jarrett Giampaolo, Charlie Flynn and Brad Hoye on another fantastic and successful year. Our 1st XVIII won the BAS Grand final against BCC by 39 points last week.

Have a great weekend.

John Crowley