Catholic schools celebrate new school buildings

29 March, 2023 

Staff and students at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Wonthaggi and St Laurence O’Toole Catholic Primary School, Leongatha celebrated the Blessing and official opening of new state of the art building projects which have created vibrant and spacious learning spaces at both schools.

At St Joseph’s Wonthaggi, Parish Priest Father Darren Howie was joined by Director of Catholic Education for the Diocese of Sale, Mr Paul Velten, Principal Mrs Joanne Coldebella along with invited guests and friends of the school and St Joseph’s Parish community.

The ceremony was to bless and officially open Stage 1, 2 and 3 of St Joseph’s Primary School’s Masterplan redevelopment which has involved major refurbishment of existing learning areas and construction of new additional learning spaces, both indoors and outdoors, as well as refurbished staff and student amenities.

Principal, Mrs Joanne Coldebella said the projects had transformed the school and significantly enhanced teaching and learning to meet the needs of students and staff as the school continued to grow.

“The result is the creation of dynamic learning spaces that are inviting, flexible and adaptable to inspire intellectual curiosity and provide a collaborative environment for students and staff alike. The new facilities also reflect our Catholic identity and provide a faith filled environment for students to flourish.”

Director of Catholic Education for the Diocese of Sale, Mr Paul Velten, then travelled to St Laurence O’Toole Catholic Primary School in Leongatha to join Parish Priest Father Stanly Devasia and the school and Parish community for the blessing and opening of the school’s new General Learning Areas and refurbished administration.


Principal of St Laurence O’Toole Catholic Primary School, Mrs Elizabeth O’Loughlin, said the school community had embraced the new state of the art facilities.


“The new Learning Areas provide a vibrant light-filled space consisting of three open learning areas and break-out rooms.  The refurbishment of the former convent into an administration area has breathed new life into a building that was deteriorating and ensures a continuing link with the Josephite Sisters who played an integral role at St Laurence O’Toole over many years. 

The administration area now houses a front office and reception, staff room, board room, small meeting room and principal’s office.

Mr Velten said that it was wonderful to see Catholic education flourishing in South Gippsland

These new facilities represent Diocese of Sale Catholic Education Limited’s (DOSCEL) ongoing commitment to providing high quality learning and teaching environments and investment in school communities.

“By creating modern, engaging learning areas and updating the facilities for students and staff, our Catholic schools are promoting excellence in learning where students can grow and thrive in a faith filled learning environment.”

The building projects at both schools were partly funded by Catholic Development Fund (CDF) loans and the school community.

From left:  Ms Linda Tack - School Advisory Committee member, Father Darren Howie – Parish Priest, Mr Aaron Gupta – Catholic Development Fund (CDF), Mr Paul Velten Director of Catholic Education Diocese of Sale, Mrs Joanne Coldebella – Principal St Joseph’s Primary School Wonthaggi. Front from left: Students Hayden, Zoe, Ella and Jesse

Students from St Joseph's Primary School Wonthaggi celebrating at the Blessing and Official Opening of the new facilities.

Wonthaggi retired teacher Mrs Carole Gow catches up with former students Bass Coast Cr Brett Tessari and Linda Tack who is now a member of the school Advisory Committee.

From left:  Current Principal at St Laurence O'Toole Primary School Mrs Elizabeth O’Loughlin, Previous Principal Ms Kate Dourley, Director of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Sale, Mr Paul Velten and Parish Priest Father Stanly Devesia.