Work is now underway to restore the oval at Heyfield Primary School so it is safe for students to use when they return to school.
Drought has created potholes and bare patches on the oval, creating a hazard for the school’s 195 pupils who like to run and play ball games on it.
Local MP Darren Chester said the Federal Government would contribute $20,000 towards the $48,000 restoration project.
“The drought has taken its toll on our environment and communities in unexpected ways, including on play spaces for our children,” Mr Chester said.
“The surface of the oval at Heyfield Primary School is dry, hard and uneven. Children are hurting themselves when they fall over.
“I’m pleased that we’ve been able to lend a hand and restore the oval so it is again a safe place where kids can run around, be active and have fun with their friends outside.”
Principal Velleda Bradford said work on the oval had begun.
“The oval will be levelled and a sprinkler system installed. We’ll then turn our attention to fixing up the grass,” Mrs Bradford said. “The contractor has been on site already, so the school community is excited to see this project underway.
“Our school often invites local sports clubs to run clinics for the students at our school, but we haven’t been able to hold the clinics due to the state of our oval.
“The students were the first ones to ask about restoring the oval and very quickly our parents and teachers threw their support behind them.
“We started fundraising, but it would’ve taken a long time for us to raise the money needed to completely cover the cost by ourselves.”
The funding for the oval’s restoration was part of $200,000 in Federal Government allocated to Gippsland through the Local Schools Community Fund. The fund provides grants between $1000 and $20,000 for small-scale projects. Fifty-four schools in Gippsland applied for a total of $900,000.
Schools were able to apply for funding for projects including small scale extensions and refurbishments, computer and ICT equipment, playground and sporting equipment, landscaping, furniture, air-conditioning and measures to support student well-being.