Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Sir Edward ‘‘Weary’’ Dunlop Learning Centre contract awarded

Benalla-based construction firm Contract Control Services has been awarded the $1.7 million Learning Centre project.

January 1, 2014 4:15am

To be built: Benalla-based construction firm Contract Control Services has been awarded the $1.7 million Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop Learning Centre project.

Benalla-based construction firm Contract Control Services has been awarded the $1.7million Sir Edward ‘‘Weary’’ Dunlop Learning Centre project.

Benalla Rural City Mayor Barbara Alexander said awarding the construction contract locally would create about 20 new jobs.

‘‘The community has lobbied long and hard for modern library facilities that will provide lifelong learning and cultural experiences for all our residents,’’ Cr Alexander said.

‘‘It is with great pride the council signs off on this important next stage of a project that will improve access to education and training, as well as cultural and social opportunities.’’

The learning centre will include greatly increased floor space, a tripling of existing public internet access, dedicated spaces for group programs and children and youth activities, and a new customer service area and staff workroom.

The building will be constructed on the site of the present Civic Centre in Benalla’s Fawckner Dve.

The Benalla Rural City Council offices will be relocated to the newly-built Customer Service Centre on Bridge St in February.

‘‘The learning centre will help prepare Benalla for the challenges of the 21st century, providing opportunities for people to improve their literacy and employment skills,’’ Cr Alexander said.

‘‘By providing a socially inclusive and safe environment, we will be opening the door to people who traditionally face barriers to these opportunities, such as people with a disability, older people and people who are socially disengaged.’’

Cr Alexander said the Learning Centre would provide an attractive and safe place for young people to gather, and offer them alternative education pathways through information and communication technology that would increase access to distance education and other non-traditional education and training options.

‘‘We know that poor reading, writing, numeric and digital literacy levels contribute to poor educational and employment outcomes,’’ Cr Alexander said.

‘‘The Learning Centre will play a critical role in helping young people achieve better educational and employment results.’’

Cr Alexander praised the innovative planning that included the adaptation of existing infrastructure and environmentally friendly elements such as solar panels and rainwater harvesting tanks.

‘‘This will be a truly modern building that will have benefits to the residents of the Rural City of Benalla for many generations to come,’’ she said.

‘‘The council must particularly acknowledge the efforts of the Friends of the Benalla Library who have lobbied tirelessly on behalf of the community for this important project, and who have given extremely useful input into the final project design.’’

The Sir Edward ‘‘Weary’’ Dunlop Learning Centre is a partnership project between federal, state and local governments, having received a $1.2million Federal Government grant, a $500000 Victorian Government grant, and a $1million Victorian Government grant through the Local Government Infrastrcture Fund.

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