Restoration milestone in student housing project

Historic buildings on the former Albany Primary School site in Serpentine Road have been restored in the first stage of a student accommodation project for the precinct.

Advance Housing (formerly Great Southern Community Housing Association) is undertaking a $16 million project to provide a 40-bed accommodation facility on the site, supported by $10.9 million in State Government funding.

The first stage of the project was the refurbishment of the existing buildings, beginning with the headmaster’s house on the Collie Street frontage. Contractors Wauters Enterprises restored the building’s original footprint by removing a lean-to that had been added at the rear of the house.

Wauters project manager Ben Polette said old fireplaces and pressed tin ceilings were revealed and refurbished, and local trades people crafted a replacement window and new doors in period style.

The headmaster’s house will accommodate staff from the Albany Education Office.

Similar restoration is under way at the former school building to provide facilities for the eventual student residents, along with office accommodation for Advance Housing.

The headmaster’s house and the former school building were provided to the project by the Department of Education.

In the second stage of the project, new accommodation will be built on the site to house tertiary education students.

The Serpentine Road project complements Advance Housing’s $3 million, 20-bed project in the Norman House precinct on Stirling Terrace, also supported by the State Government with funding of $1.17 million.

Advance Housing Chief Executive Officer Kaz Sternberg said the organisation was honoured to have received funding to restore some of the Albany central precinct’s oldest and most significant heritage buildings.

“Additionally, the provision of affordable student housing will open up opportunities to retain and attract young people to Albany and the beautiful Great Southern region,” Ms Sternberg said.

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