A $60 million investment sees brand new Iona College set to grow with its community, thanks to support from CDF
From farmland to state-of-the-art facilities, Iona College is on track to become the heart of Charlemont.
The brand new, co-educational Catholic secondary school, which opened in 2020 with 150 Year 7 students, is situated in Charlemont, part of Geelong’s Armstrong Creek, the largest contiguous growth area in Victoria. With plans to grow to approximately 1,400 students from Year 7 to 12 within the next six years thanks to funding from CDF, Iona College will meet the demands of a booming population by providing quality education and a sense of community for young families.
Foundation Principal Damian McKew, who is in his sixteenth year of principalship, believes schools are the heart of any community.
“I think families in the area are looking to the school to be a really important part of their lives and the lives of their children,” Damian says. “We’re really excited that we can play that role for our young people and their families into the future.”
Building a new school from the ground up, Damian says, offers a wonderful opportunity to grow and flourish alongside the students and instil important Catholic values.
“Everything starts from scratch,” he says, “so we can work with our young people on what it means to be a modern Catholic school and the values of being a Catholic today, such as being compassionate and empathetic towards others.”
With stage one of the development complete, current students can enjoy a three-storey, multi-purpose facility which offers an environment to study a broad curriculum including subjects such as science, IT and wood technology. The $25 million investment also contributed to the creation of an MCG-sized football oval, which is intended to be a resource for daily sport, inter-school sports days and the entire Charlemont community.
“It’s a wonderful facility that will benefit our existing students and many students into the future,” Damian says.
Further stages of the project, starting this year, will involve building specialist arts and science spaces, a college gymnasium, food technology facilities and more. Once complete, the investment will total approximately $60 million.
Iona College Business Manager Tom Harriott says it’s worth every dollar.
“It’s a significant investment not only from Iona College and the students but for our community,” he says, “particularly as it becomes a destination school for the Torquay, Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove areas.”
Iona College’s partnership with the CDF has played a vital role in its establishment.
“Our relationship with the CDF has been brilliant,” Tom says. “To be able to work with them like we have over the past two years has allowed us to build at the rate we want and to have access to the funds we need, when we need them.”
Principal Damian agrees.
“We’ve been really blessed to have a partnership with an organisation that has similar values,” he says. “Both being Catholic entities has enabled an element of trust and cooperation from the outset, which has brought this project to fruition.”
Pictured: Iona College, Geelong