THE quiet, timeworn halls of the former Toowoomba South State School were humming with activity once again as work began on a central administration building for Toowoomba Catholic Schools.
Toowoomba diocese bought the heritage-listed site in 2015.
The diocese named the site’s central location and proximity to existing church buildings, St Patrick’s Cathedral and Parish centre, as key reasons for accommodating all Catholic Schools Office staff there.
Toowoomba Bishop Robert McGuckin said he was delighted to be able to conserve such an important part of Toowoomba’s history while providing a much-needed administration site for Toowoomba Catholic Schools.
“This exciting development sees the completion of a long quest to find a single home for the Catholic Schools Office whilst conserving the cultural significance of the Toowoomba South State School buildings, which are a prominent landmark on James Street,” Bishop McGuckin said.
The main school building was built in the 1930s and the play shed will be retained and reused as part of the development.
Bishop McGuckin said Catholic schools had been educating the region’s young people for more than 150 years and were an integral part of the Toowoomba, Darling Downs and south west Queensland communities.
“This exciting new project, and in particular, its location and history, further solidifies those links with the community,” he said.
“This redevelopment provides a significant boost for the local economy and will see an injection of more than 100 workers into the southern end of the CBD.
“We are delighted to be working with local firm McNab who have a strong track record in the delivery of high-quality commercial developments.”
Toowoomba Catholic Schools executive director Dr Pat Coughlan said the move could not have come at a better time.
“With close to 1400 staff and 9000 students, Toowoomba Catholic Schools is constantly examining how we provide the very best education opportunities for our community,” he said.
“The last couple of years have seen significant change as we work to further ensure we are reaching the highest of standards in academic excellence for all students within our Catholic context.
“We hope to be able to begin operating from this site early next year which, after many years split across three sites, will make a remarkable difference to our work in providing leadership, service and support to the 31 schools across our diocese.”