St Columba Anglican School officially opened and dedicated its Burch Sustainability and Environmental Centre.
The building was completed in 2021 with the vision of providing exceptional teaching and learning spaces to collaborate and to innovate.
The centre was partly funded by the Australian government under the capital grants program, and the St Columba Anglican School community.
The centre delivers opportunities for curriculum-based learning experiences as well as gardening, sustainability and community focused activities.
The building was named in honour of past chair of school council, Dr Gordon Burch.
Dr Burch has a background in rural science and was awarded a Fellowship of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology. He has also served as executive director to the Australian Science and Technology Council (ASTEC), and was chief scientist to the Australian and New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA).
While living in Canberra, Dr Burch maintained an active role in the Canberra-Goulburn Anglican Diocese, serving for several years on Bishop-in-Council, and was involved in the establishment of Radford College in Canberra.
Pat Conaghan, Federal Member for Cowper, joined Dr Burch in unveiling the school plaque.
Member of the Primary School Sustainability Committee, Grace Bunt, has already undertaken classes in the new building and is excited about its potential.
"I think this building marks a new beginning for SCAS and a new way to do things towards sustainability, it gives us more room for more ideas," Ms Bunt said.
The building is home to state-of-the-art facilities that feature an open plan primary classroom space for collaborative and investigative science activities, outdoor spaces and access to nature trails,
LED lighting to maximise energy efficiency, a fresh air circulation system, a 10,000 litre water tank for rainwater capture, real-time monitoring of environmental conditions within the classrooms and local environment, and vegetable bush tucker gardens that are currently in development are also part of the design.
Primary school captain and member of the Sustainability Committee, Rosie Ferguson, recognises the inter-generational importance of a sustainability focused culture at the school.
"The thought that one day we will be part of the reason we may have a better future is exciting. Sustainability education allows us to connect especially with Indigenous land. This was their lifeline, and it is up to us to keep it from being destroyed," Rosie said.
Under the leadership of principal Terry Muldoon, it is the school's goal that the Burch Sustainability and Environmental Centre will inspire and support ideas that can help deliver environmental solutions.
"With our planet groaning under the pressure of human use of its resources, why wouldn't we create a space where our students can learn how they can restore the health of our fragile blue planet and become the sustainability leaders our world so badly needs?" Mr Muldoon said.
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