School expansion project adjusted to accommodate sacred tree

Plans for a $36.3 million expansion of the Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology (QASMT) in Toowong have been revised to ensure a 300-year-old Scar Tree will be protected.

Education Minister Grace Grace said a three-storey ‘Northern Learning Centre’ will be built at another site at the academy, outside the Tree’s protection zone. Construction is due to start on the centre today.

Ms Grace said her department had been working closely with the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and the traditional owners, the Turrbal People, to ensure the expansion could still be delivered while respecting the cultural and environmental sensitivities of the site.

“My department takes its role in supporting environmental protection and minimising the impact of our actions on the environment very seriously,” Ms Grace said.

“Senior officers from my department have had a series of discussions with the Turrbal people and they have agreed with our proposal to adjust the location of the building in order to avoid any impact on the tree.

“I woud like to thank the representatives of the Turrbal people for their willingness to work with the department to find an outcome that is a win for the community and for our students.”

Ms Grace said the $36.3 million Stage Two expansion includes the construction of the Northern Learning Centre and a STEM hub.

“This wonderful project will support up to 96 full-time jobs which is a welcome boost to the local economy,” she said.

“The Northern Learning Centre is expected to be finished in March 2020, featuring 12 classrooms, staff rooms, undercover parking and a courtyard.

“The centre is expected to accommodate year 8 and 9 students.

“Meanwhile, construction of the STEM building started in February and is expected to be finished in time for day one of the 2020 school year.”

Ms Grace said the project would deliver exciting opportunities for high-achieving Queensland state school students.

“QASMT is going from strength to strength, with the first intake of year 7 students walking through the doors in term one this year,” Ms Grace said.

“The academy enables Queensland’s state school students to fast-track their school studies, undertake university subjects, and work with industry to combine career based and university level studies.

“This expansion will enable even more Queensland students to access the International Baccalaureate® — a leading, internationally recognised pre-university qualification.”

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