Evanston Gardens Primary celebrates $6m upgrade

UPGRADE: Student leaders with Acting School Principal Nikki Priestman, Education Minister John Gardner and local MP Tony Piccolo. Photo: Supplied
UPGRADE: Student leaders with Acting School Principal Nikki Priestman, Education Minister John Gardner and local MP Tony Piccolo. Photo: Supplied

The $6 million redeveloped Evanston Gardens Primary School was officially opened last Friday by the Minister for Education John Gardner.

The upgrades include redevelopment of administrative and library facilities and revamped modern teaching technologies.

Local Member, Mr Tony Piccolo said that he was pleased that the staff and students at the school now had modern facilities to assist with their learning.

"The new buildings enable teachers to conduct lessons using modern teaching techniques by utilising impressive new technologies." said Mr Piccolo.

"The historic library underwent a major conversion into a new administration centre for the school."

The school's enrolments have been steadily growing as a result of the new housing estates in Evanston Gardens and Evanston South and the upgrade is designed to cater for future growth of up to 480 students.

At the time the redevelopment was announced, School Principal Libby Clift said with new opportunities for technology there has been greater learning opportunities for teachers and children.

"The new library and administration buildings have made a big difference and we will be able to build on the best of our heritage, into the future," Ms Clift said.

"We have a lot of parents who were students and now volunteer at our school; some of them cried with joy when they heard the development was going ahead."

The redevelopment was first mooted in 2011 when the then Education Minister, the Hon Jay Weatherill, authorised a feasibility into the proposed extensive upgrade and the project was funded when the Hon Jennifer Rankine was Minister for Education.

According to local MP Tony Piccolo, the school opened on January 20, 1908 and Blanche Tims, a provisional teacher, taught at the school in 1908 and 1909 and the school moved to its current location in 1923.

In 1951, 1961 and 1966 wooden prefab classrooms were added to the school as pupil numbers grew. Another wooden prefab classroom was added in 1974 when the nearby Gawler River School closed.

Until 1968 the school was known as Gawler Blocks Primary School, reflecting the name of the area until that time. Gawler Blocks was originally owned by Mr John Riggs in town sections of 630 acres.

A move to establish Gawler Blocks began with a meeting in Gawler on May 28, 1890 which formed a branch of the homestead league.

On June 24, 1891 the league received word that the government had purchased the 630 acres as requested by the branch for working men's blocks.