Dorm doom: boarding students at end of their tether

Better dorms: Yanco Agricultural High School lobby

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Students say living conditions are affecting their ability to study and live comfortably.

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NO WORD YET: Member for Murray Helen Dalton, Yanco Agricultural High School students and the P&C are continuing to call for an upgrade of the female dorms.

NO WORD YET: Member for Murray Helen Dalton, Yanco Agricultural High School students and the P&C are continuing to call for an upgrade of the female dorms.

YANCO Agricultural High School students say they feel overlooked when it comes to a lack of money being spent by the state government to upgrade their female dormitories.

At the beginning of March representatives from the NSW government, including Education Minister Sarah Mitchell, visited the school to inspect the female dorms and hear the concerns about them.

The students said the conditions of the dorms make for uncomfortable living year-round.

They've also enlisted the help of Murray MP Helen Dalton.

Ms Dalton has also inspected the dorms and repeatedly called on the government to upgrade them.

However, to date, no money has appeared, leaving the students feeling disgruntled and overlooked.

YAHS captain Sarah Elward and vice captain Hannah Dunn said they were disappointed the government deemed the dorms appropriate to live in when they, and many others, believe they aren't.

"Considering the state these buildings are in, it is quite disappointing the education department, even after they have visited the conditions of these dorms, deemed these dorms as suitable for student living," the pair said.

"The upgrade of the current dorms was simply overlooked."

Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of Yanco Agricultural High School and the students leaders said this would provide the perfect opportunity to upgrade the dorms.

It is believed the dorm rooms, demountable buildings, were never meant to be a permanent solution when female students first started attending the school.

"Extraordinary the NSW government is spending billions on COVID-19 stimulus in Sydney, but can't find any money to build proper safe dorms for girls in a rural school," Mrs Dalton said.

"We have been waiting 27 years for them to do so. How can they justify nice proper dorms for the boys and unsafe slums for the girls?

"The minister actually went inside these cramped and unsafe these second-hand demountable dorms. She can't continue to ignore the safety issues.

"If a student gets injured, the NSW government will have a lot to answer for."

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, the dorms have been housing male students.

"There have been several maintenance forms from the boys complaining about lack of heating, damp walls and floor due to leaks and exposed gaps between the foundation," Hannah and Sarah said.

"However, having lived in these buildings last year, during the colder months it affected study, sleeping routines, afternoon activities and weekend activities, due to lack of heating throughout the day - as the heaters are on timers students are unable to change.

"At times during winter it was warmer outside than it was in."

The student leaders said they would continue to fight for an upgrade.

"It is disheartening we do not receive support from the Department of Education to improve the living quality, especially since political members have attended the school and seen its present state," they said.

"It is also clear the other two public agricultural high schools are receiving a great amount of support, as all dorms are permanent on their campus and have recently undergone more upgrades."

The story Dorm doom: boarding students at end of their tether first appeared on The Area News.

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