MAGS board­ing fa­cil­ity to be op­er­a­tional from 2019

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By DARCEE NIXON

“WE’LL start small and build the cul­ture from the ground up,” Mac­quarie Angli­can Gram­mar School Head­mas­ter Craig Man­sour said of the school’s newly an­nounced board­ing fa­cil­ity. The school hopes that the sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­ni­ties board­ing will of­fer to stu­dents in Cen­tral West and Western NSW will help to bridge the ed­u­ca­tional di­vide be­tween ru­ral and ur­ban stu­dents.

And with the sig­nif­i­cant amount of in­ter­est al­ready re­ceived from Nyn­gan, Co­bar, Con­dobolin, Narrabri and Bourke, Mr Man­sour said it ap­pears that re­gional fam­i­lies are keen to board their kids close to home in the bush.

“It’s been a long time com­ing, but to­day it all be­gins to pay off,” he said at a launch event at Vista Lodge where the board­ing fa­cil­ity will be lo­cated.

“We are look­ing to be open from day dot next year. We will have staff in place this year from mid-de­cem­ber and then up­staff and pro­vide train­ing through­out Jan­uary to be ready,” Mr Man­sour said.

The lo­ca­tion has the ca­pac­ity to board 40 stu­dents from Years 7 to 12, with dor­mi­tory-style rooms for the younger stu­dents and self-catered apart­ments for se­nior stu­dents as they learn to live in­de­pen­dently.

Stu­dent meals will be catered in the din­ing hall and a chef will live on site. An up­stairs study room will be staffed by teach­ers and there will be recre­ational and sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties avail­able to keep stu­dents ac­tive.

“Board­ing re­ally gives stu­dents a sense of iden­tity, a sense of be­long­ing and a sense of con­nec­tion,” Mac­quarie Anglian Gram­mar School Head of Board­ing Tim Chalmers said, from his ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing a board­ing stu­dent him­self.

“It is im­por­tant that stu­dents don’t feel iso­lated and that they en­gage with day stu­dents and the com­mu­nity,” Mr Chalmers added.

The school cur­rently has Vista Lodge on a five-year lease, but in­tends to pur­chase the prop­erty once they are as­sured of the board­ing op­er­a­tion’s long-term suc­cess.

Mr Man­sour said the board­ing would be ‘fi­nan­cially ac­ces­si­ble’ at about $21,000 per year (for seven-day board­ing), in ad­di­tion to school fees.

And the ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties will ben­e­fit as well.

“We would love to re­tain tal­ent within the city and if a cou­ple are be­ing ed­u­cated here, hope­fully they’ll stay here for a lot longer,” Dubbo Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Matt Wright said.

PHOTO: DUBBO PHOTO NEWS

Mac­quarie Anglian Gram­mar School Head of Board­ing Tim Chalmers and Head­mas­ter Craig Man­sour.

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