Budgeree rallies for historic school

Budgeree locals are calling for the community to support their cause to preserve the historic school. photograph michelle slater

Budgeree locals are calling for the community to support their cause to preserve the historic school. photograph michelle slater

The Budgeree community is rallying locals to help save its historic school as Latrobe City Council will put the call out for submissions to decide the future of the site.

Latrobe will gather community feedback about potentially transferring the 1908 school to the community to manage and restore.

Budgeree hall committee of management secretary Leanne Potter described the move as a "positive step forward" in a long-running saga over the future and maintenance of the historic site.

"This school is what binds this community together, it's a connecting point," she said.

Budgeree community members asked Monday's council meeting to take the school's historic value into account when deciding its future.

She estimated the school building has less than two years before it falls over due to years of neglect.

The management committee had been quoted $150,000 to realign the west wall, put the floor and stumps back into place and install new gutters.

"We've been saying the school has two years left. But after building reports, we've found it's in much better condition than it appears," she said.

Latrobe had originally recommended putting the site on the market, however, Cr Kellie O'Callaghan put forward an alternative motion calling for community submissions.

Cr O'Callaghan acknowledged the community had already contributed $5000 towards purchasing the school.

Cr Dale Harriman said it was important for council to remember it represented the community.

"When we have a unanimous group from the community ... voicing opinions, it falls to council ... to represent the community as we were elected to do," Cr Harriman said.

"When you have full community support on a proposal ... when the community has already put money towards the project, it is beholden of council to hold that very strongly."

Ms Potter said if the school was put on the market, it would close down the community and make the hall unsuitable for events.

Latrobe council previously agreed to hand the school over to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to revert to Crown land and into community management. However, DELWP said the building was a liability in its current condition and did not want to take on its responsibility.

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