SCHOOL'S OUT: These Ballina High students were last Friday the last students at the school which will be demolished next year to make way for the new Ballina Coast High School.
SCHOOL'S OUT: These Ballina High students were last Friday the last students at the school which will be demolished next year to make way for the new Ballina Coast High School. Graham Broadhead

Final bell rung at school before demolition

THAT'S it: the last bell has rung at Ballina High School.

And there was little fanfare last Friday to mark the milestone for the school, which opened as an intermediate school in 1931.

It is set to be demolished next year to make way for the new $40m Ballina Coast High School, which is an amalgamation of Ballina High and Southern Cross School 7-12, scheduled to open in 2019.

There were few students at Ballina High for the final day as lessons had been swapped last week for working bees to pack things up ready for storage.

Some staff said it was strange to see the school so empty, and others cheekily took an opportunity to scrawl a message on the back of a toilet door, which will be gone forever once demolition work starts.

Year 10 students Harry Ellis and Andrew Newell were among the 15 or so kids who turned up for the final farewell.

They recognised the nostalgia of leaving the spots where they have sat for recess and lunch, and farewelling some familiar staff.

But they were more looking to the future - they will be among the first cohort of Year 12 students who will sit the HSC under the name of Ballina Coast High School - and how the integration of the two schools' students will pan out next year.

Ballina High students will next year go to school at Southern Cross, East Ballina.

Temporary accommodation at Southern Cross consists of 19 classrooms, a woodwork unit, a computer lab and toilet blocks.

Ballina High school buses will run as normal next year, but drop-offs will be at Chickiba Dr, East Ballina.

And the Ballina Coast High School uniform will be available to buy at places such as Lowes during the holidays for incoming Year 7 students. Other students can wear their current uniforms.

Meanwhile, the Department of Planning and Environment is calling for community input into the redevelopment of the current Ballina High site.

The proposal includes the demolition of most of the current buildings, retention of the existing Marine Discovery Centre and existing sports courts; new buildings varying in height up to three storeys and including a new outdoor sports court; building of a new vehicle entry off Swift St with loading zone and support drop-off zone; building of associated stormwater management system, services and landscaping; and removal of an existing 32-space sealed car park to make way for future development options.

To make a submission or view the Environmental Impact Statement, visit majorprojects.planning. nsw.gov.au.

Submissions close January 31.


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