THE foundations are dug and building is underway on a new girls’ boarding house at The Armidale School (TAS), where a surge in enrolments has meant the development needs to be completed a year earlier than first planned.
The multimillion-dollar development, to cater for 64 boarders, is Stage One of a facility that will ultimately accommodate 130 female students. When TAS commenced full co-education in 2016, it was envisaged that it would be a few years before a new boarding house was required. However with the current girls’ boarding house Dangar Moyes almost at its 47 bed capacity, fingers are crossed that the new development will be open for term 1 in 2018. The new facility is part of a dynamic master plan, developed last year by Brisbane architectural firm BVN, to help manage the school’s growth.
Headmaster Murray Guest said TAS had started the year with its largest intake in the school’s history, with close to one third of those new to TAS being girls, and half of all new enrolments being boarders.
“We now have more than 225 students living on campus, the highest number of boarders at TAS in more than 20 years and significantly, more new boys started this year than in eight out of the past 10 years,” he said. “Our movement along the path of significant, but steady growth has well and truly begun.”
He said during the annual fortnight-long Headmaster’s Country Tour, which took place in NSW centres across the North West, New England, Hunter and west to Lightning Ridge, it was clear from prospective families that the decision to go co-ed has made TAS a single family destination for brothers and sisters.
“From the start, our expectations for our girls have been the same as they have been for our boys for decades. The past 18 months have affirmed our understanding that aspirations to set goals, be challenged and achieve, are not defined by gender. Co-education has enabled new opportunities for students and is simply preparing them for the realities of the modern world,” he said.
Photo: TAS Business Manager Pat Bradley and Headmaster Murray Guest inspect the progress of the new girls’ boarding house, expected to be open for Term 1, 2018.