Orange High School (OHS) has celebrated the opening of a new Japanese garden on Thursday, and has switched on a rooftop full of new solar panels this term.
The new garden cost about $20,000, which was raised by the OHS P&C through trivia nights, donations, catering and running the canteen at the school.
OHS principal Chad Bliss said he was impressed by the amount of work that had gone into the projects and was glad to help reduce carbon emissions.
“I’m very thankful to the P&C and the hard work of parents, staff and volunteers to have such a beautiful space for the community,” he said.
“Not only will it reduce the cost of electricity but also it’ll reduce the carbon footprint, in 2018 it’s important to have an ethical responsibility around ensuring we’re looking after the environment and to continue to grow the number of solar panels we have in the school and lower our carbon footprint.”
He said he hoped the garden, ringed with Japanese plants and with a ring of green grass, would be a space not just for the community.
“It’s a community space, we’re a public school and at the heart of the community and we need the community involved in every aspect of our school and this can be used to engage the community,” he said.
OHS P&C president Keith Lummis said they were still seeking to place a Japanese-style pagoda in the garden, which could cost another $8000 or so, which they were hoping to raise this year.
As for the solar panels, he said the funding was a joint effort between the Department of Education and the school, which the P&C assisted with.
“The department said if we were keen they could put some money in for it but we’d have to find the rest,” he said.
OHS P&C’s Sarah Hoskin was one of the designers of the garden, and has also worked on other projects around the school.
“We worked on what was here originally and based on the Japanese theme. We’ve got maples, we’ve got an upright crabapple in the corner, the grass in the centre and the circle is trying to create that zen-like geometric space," she said.
Anyone looking to donate or assist the P&C can get in touch via the OHS website.