A science block will be transformed at Pioneer State High School in Mackay, giving local students more opportunity to excel in STEM education.
Education Minister Grace Grace and Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert visited the school today to check out the existing J Block which will be upgraded in a $1.1 million funding boost.
Ms Gilbert said the project was included in last week’s $220 million announcement by the Premier to refurbish facilities at schools across the state, creating local jobs.
“It’s wonderful to see first-hand where this money will be spent at Pioneer State High, one of many schools in my electorate that is benefiting from $2.5 million worth of new funding,” Ms Gilbert said.
“This project here at Pioneer will modernise their science building, repurposing the existing science labs and classrooms to create a dedicated robotics lab.
“Construction is expected to support around three local jobs.
“Even though it’s a small project, work like this goes a long way towards supporting the Palaszczuk Government’s plan for economic recovery.
“Planning of the project is in its early days but construction is expected to finish around June next year.”
Ms Grace said the Government was no stranger to investing in state schools across Mackay.
“Over the last five years, around $43 million has been invested into projects locally, with more than $170 million spent across the Mackay/Whitsundays region,” she said.
“We want all students, no matter where they live, to have access to a world-class education.
“Last week’s infrastructure announcement by the Premier will deliver better facilities for students to give them the best start.
“It’ll also create more than 720 jobs for tradespeople across the state.” Ms Grace said the visit to Pioneer State High tied in with National Science Week this week.
“STEM education is vital in our state schools because we know STEM skills are preparing students for the jobs of the future,” she said.
“The Palaszczuk Government is investing $81.3 million for STEM education over four years.
“Over the last 12 months, the Department has built and refurbished over 100 robotics and science labs and classrooms across 34 schools.
“This project at Pioneer will really benefit all students who are passionate about a career in STEM.”
Pioneer State High School Principal Matt Horton said the school was delighted with the new funding.
“In addition to the essential infrastructure upgrades, we are aiming to reconfigure the existing five science labs and two general classrooms in the block to provide a dedicated robotics laboratory,” Mr Horton said.
“This school received $475,000 from the Collaboration and Innovation Fund in 2015 and developed a coding and robotics program.
“A dedicated robotics lab will help us expand our mission to make science accessible to all students.
“Science learning can be just as relevant to students whose ambitions lie in the traditional trades or engineering as it is to those pursuing an academic path.”