A FEAR of the unknown is palpable in the community following the announcement of the $65 million super-school.
But, Armidale Teachers Association president Michael Sciffer has nothing but praise for the development, that will see public education compete with private school facilities for the first time.
“There has been under-investment in public school facilities for decades across the country,” Mr Sciffer said.
“The Department of Education and the state government have been saying it’s very much about providing Armidale students with the very latest opportunities in curriculum and teaching.
“We’re talking about a facility that’s shaped around teaching, not teaching limited by a box.”
The super-school will see a state-of-the-art performing arts theatre built on the ground of Armidale High School, along with commercial grade teaching facilities for practical subjects.
It will also be developed with the needs of today’s students in mind, with complete Wi-Fi integration.
“The school is going to be designed to cater for the needs of the kids,” Mr Sciffer said.
“Unfortunately architecture of 50 to 100 years ago doesn’t meet the emotional, physical and psychological needs of kids today.
“The new school can do that.”
The larger student population means that all the courses on the statewide curriculum can finally be offered to country kids.
Teachers will be able to specialise in new and emerging fields.
Community members need not be concerned about disruption to HSC students or transitioning to a new school, Mr Sciffer said.
“This is not the first time the Department of Education has done this, they have a range of strategies for this process so there is no disruption to learning opportunities,” he said.
“I think parents need to ask the questions they have – but in terms of transitioning, we have the expertise and the resources.
“I don’t believe people need to be worried about it.”
The community will be engaged with the planning team for consultation on the super-school during Term 3.