Save Our Slade
IT’S a simple, three-word plea but for a small group of passionate and determined locals, the demolition of the historic Slade School campus would be “criminal”.
Since the Southern Downs Regional Council called for feedback on what to use the site for, Margaret McKinnon has dedicated her time to making people listen to her plea to keep it in the community – one option being a second campus for Warwick State High School (WSHS).
“This is something I feel really strongly about – I have been talking to the WSHS P&C, the staff, principal, Education Queensland and have made no progress,” Mrs McKinnon said.
“So I thought I’d invite a few parents and community members up to the campus to have a look and see what’s up there and then let the community know what’s available and that it’s a real, viable option for a second campus for the high school.”
So that’s what she did.
On Thursday, a small group including WSHS parents, grandparents, interested community members, council representatives and the media went on a one-hour tour of Slade Campus to explore its facilities.
Finishing in the 62-year-old dining hall, the small group decided then and there to form a committee called Save Our Slade (SOS).
With WSHS supposedly at 99.6 per cent capacity on day eight this year, Mrs McKinnon along with local member Lawrence Springborg contacted EQ suggesting Slade as an option to expand.
“EQ basically said there’s no problem – they think putting in a double-storey demountable will fix the already-crowded campus,” Mrs McKinnon, a former WSHS teacher of 26 years, said.
But in 2014, there may well be another 200 students to deal with if the move to put Year 7s into the high school goes ahead in line with southern states.
“I was horrified they thought a double demountable would fix it – nothing made any sense to me... we’ve got to convince the people sitting in the George Street office there’s a real problem,” Mrs McKinnon said.
“The children deserve much better than what they’re getting now – school should be something they enjoy, not just endure.
“We’re not talking about the teachers – the school has a wonderful curriculum, wonderful programs and dedicated staff – we’re talking about the physical structure.”
But Mrs McKinnon’s first hurdle is to stop council from selling the site, to avoid the inevitable circling developers turning it into an estate.
“To allow bulldozers to come in and knock it over it would be criminal,” she said.
Mr Springborg praised Mrs McKinnon – “a thoughtful woman who has a solid background in teaching” – for pushing for a solution.
“In the meantime I’ll keep on pushing a long-term masterplan for WSHS which was 99.6 per cent full on day eight of this school year because I am completely unconvinced the school can cope with the number of students,” he said.
“The double-storey demountable suggestion is just preposterous – a high-rise school is not really the best answer and that’s just showing how desperate and ad-hoc the thinking is.”
“Until the government responds to that call, if they think Slade is not an option they need to tell us what option there is.”
A Southern Downs Regional Council spokeswoman advised an advertisement will appear in today’s edition of the Daily News as well as other media calling for expressions of interest in the marketing of Slade Campus.
“Expressions of interest close November 27, from those council will shortlist and invite tenders,” she said.
The Save Our Slade committee will hold an open day for the community to explore the campus.
“The committee members will show people over the campus as well as have a petition to keep Slade in our community,” Margaret McKinnon said.
Saturday, October 23 from 9am to noon
Horsman Road, Warwick