Students in Dapto's St John's Catholic Parish Primary School will benefit from a $9 million infrastructure upgrade which includes nine new classrooms.
The school gathered for the official opening and blessing of the new buildings with special guests on Tuesday, November 21.
The upgrade also includes the refurbishment of 12 classrooms, the administration block, outdoor learning spaces and playgrounds.
The acting school principal, Matthew Downes said the school was in "desperate need of an update" due to old facilities.
"It has been probably 30 or 40 years since the school has been updated and the facilities require a lot of maintenance work, so there had to be a rebuild of facilities," Mr Downes said.
The school previously known as St Joseph's School was established in 1839 in West Dapto and was moved to its current location in 1900.
The school previously had two campuses on opposite sides of Jerematta Street but they have swapped Parish lands to move the school to one side of the road.
The land opposite the school owned by St John's Parish has been leased long-term to a Montessori preschool.
The school has about 600 students with a growing number in the last couple of years, Mr Downes said. The building upgrades means the school can add additional classes.
"There's a real demand with the expansion of West Dapto for catholic education in this area," he said.
The construction began in 2017 and was completed in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the official opening till 2023.
The federal government provided $3.5 million in funding through the capital grants program for non-government schools to improve infrastructure when they do not have enough capital resources. An additional $5.5 million was funded by the Catholic Diocese of Wollongong.
The Bishop of Wollongong Brian Mascord blessed the school with the sprinkling of holy water with the assistance of Parish Priest Father Francis Tran.
Director of Schools Diocese of Wollongong, Peter Hill said this amalgamation would benefit the students at the co-educational school.
"Bringing the two St John's campuses together provides greater opportunities for students to achieve their best-academically, socially, physically, and spiritually, through the high quality teaching and the rich relationships within the school and parish community," Mr Hill said.
In the special assembly, he explained to the primary school students that the upgrade is somewhat similar to Lego building.
"Like Lego your school buildings have been built over time, one brick at a time. They may be slightly bigger, less colourful, and fortunately more structurally sound but they've each been carefully placed with the same patience, vision, passion and dedication."
Member for Whitlam Stephen Jones said the spirit of Saint Mary MacKillop is alive and well in the school.
"The buildings are fantastic but the really magical stuff is what goes on inside them and remember every day it's our job to go out there and be the best person possible," Mr Jones said in the assembly.
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