The Lourdes Hill College community in Brisbane celebrated the blessing and official opening of new facilities last Friday September 12, including a state-of-the-art middle school building, chapel and sports centre.
The largest construction project in the Hawthorne school’s 98-year history has been completed to make way for a growing student population and the introduction of a full cohort of Year 7 students in 2015.
College Principal, Robyn Anderson, said the opening of the new facilities marks the dawn of a new era for Lourdes Hill.
“Our new facilities will not only change the shape of our campus – they will be changing the shape of our girls’ education,” she said.
The five-storey building, officially named the Bernadette Centre, houses a 470-seat auditorium, science precinct and performing arts centre.
The building also comprises eight general learning classrooms designed specifically for students in Years 7 to 9, a cashless tuckshop, roof-top play area and administration facilities.
Robyn said that the science precinct was reflective of the importance the College placed on science and technology.
“We see a strong future for women in science and our new learning spaces will give our students the best possible start,” she said.
“Our students will come to this precinct to have their curiosity in science and technology met and to see the importance of science for future careers.”
Robyn said that the arts would also be heavily featured in the Bernadette Centre, providing students with an outlet for self-expression and the opportunity to develop both independence and collaboration skills.
“The arts are proven to enhance academic achievement and innovative mindsets, and the Bernadette Centre will allow our drama and music to become more visible to the wider school community,” she said.
“The increased prominence of these subjects on our campus will allow students to witness the vibrant, creative and stimulating environment that the arts provide.”
Directly overlooking the Brisbane River and across to New Farm Park is the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes, which was opened in conjunction with the Bernadette Centre.
Robyn described the new chapel as the jewel in the College’s crown.
“The chapel features floor-to-ceiling glass walls and a stunning series of stained-glass windows designed by one of our talented art teachers, Trish Linehan,” she said.
The chapel will be used for the College’s weekly Mass, and will also be available for hire to the wider community.
“With its magnificent location and seating capacity for 160 people, the chapel will make an ideal wedding venue, particularly for our past pupils,” Robyn explained.
The third facility opened was the Stella Centre, a covered multi-sports facility housing two full-size courts for netball, basketball, tennis, volleyball and futsal.
Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge blessed the new facilities, while State Member for Bulimba, Aaron Dillaway, conducted the official opening on behalf of Queensland Minister for Education, Training and Employment, John-Paul Langbroek.
Among the 1,400 staff, students, family and friends gathered for the celebrations were at least 22 Good Samaritan Sisters, many of whom had taught at the College in the past.
“The Good Samaritan Benedictine charism is alive and well in the College and was reflected in the words, symbols and stories that were part of the ritual and blessing of the chapel and the official opening of the other facilities,” said Sister Bernardina Sontrop.
Lourdes Hill College was established by the Good Samaritan Sisters in 1916 and is now operated by Good Samaritan Education.