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First Day at Catherine McAuley College

15 February, 2022

The start of the 2022 school year on Monday 7 February was a historic occasion as the foundation students at Mackay’s newest Catholic secondary school stepped through the doors of Catherine McAuley College for the first time.

The Year 7 cohort, comprising 110 students across five streams was warmly welcomed by 27 staff to the newly refurbished iconic Sugar Research Institute building on Nebo Road which forms the centrepiece of the new college.

“It was a momentous day, the culmination of over two years of planning and preparation. Our staff and students were certainly very excited and grateful to be part of the opening chapter of Catherine McAuley College,” Catherine McAuley College Principal, Mr Jim Ford said. “The College looks amazing with a blend of refurbished old and stylish new.  The Institute’s main building has been transformed into a versatile, highly functional educational facility with fully equipped, attractive, air-conditioned rooms.”

The original building has remained, with architects managing to meld the old with the new, providing other buildings on the campus with fresh looks.

“An eighteen-month construction period had much to achieve in both restoration and new structures with contemporary architecture making best use of the site,” Mr Ford said.

Year 7s were the first cohort arriving at the school, with further year levels to be added over subsequent years until the college reached its full capacity of 1200 students across Years 7 to 12 in 2027.

Mr Ford said students had settled in remarkably quickly with teaching and learning well underway making full use of the college’s extensive facilities, now with a focus on another type of construction program.  “That involves building the culture, ethos, traditions and effective practices that offer the families and students who seek our values a choice in a faith-based education at an excellent school,” he said.