There was an element of concern when the parents of the rapidly expanding Duffy Primary School saw $2.8 million had been budgeted for "transportable buildings."
"People who’d been around the transportables in their school years were [initially] very concerned," the school’s Parents and Citizens president Necia Fisher said.
But the fully insulated, temperature controlled and architecturally designed transportables being installed in the school are nothing like the temporary demountable classrooms of yesteryear.
There were gasps when the first of the 10 "modules" was unveiled on Friday afternoon. Together they will form a new building housing seven classrooms.
"It’s beautiful," declared one parent upon seeing its designed panels.
"It’s phenomenal, we weren’t expecting anything this amazing," P&C vice-president Laura Boyer said, herself an ex-student of the school.
The new transportable building was made in Victoria and trucked to Canberra, a process that required a different road permit for each state and territory, with the 10 modules weighing from 13 to 17 tonnes.
A 350-tonne crane, one of the three in NSW, had to be brought in to lift the modules into place on the foundations that were laid at the site in the past month.
The buildings were chosen over a conventional build to cause minimal disruption to the school, taking just one term to prepare the foundations, two days to install, and a month to complete the fitout.
It will provide the school with much needed new classrooms in the new year as the school continues to grow, but also provides some flexibility for the education department if enrolment numbers change in the future.
"The school was hit pretty hard after the fires – enrolments dropped dramatically, [as] a lot of the younger families moved out of the area," Principal Kim Darcy said.
The school dropped to just one class per year, but has grown to the point where next year it will have two classes per year, and three classes for kindergarten, year 1 and 2.
"As sad and horrible as the fires were … it’s like a rejuvenation of a whole suburb and the school’s been the hub, a real part of that," she said.
While the Duffy expansion supports enrolment growth in Weston Creek, a new primary school in Coombs will open in 2016, which could affect numbers.