PAST and present members of the Bellimbopinni school community are encouraged to keep November 16 free for what will be a special celebration.
After a history which dates back to 1865, the school will close at the end of this year, bringing to an end months of speculation regarding its future.
Staff and students are set to mark what would be next year’s 150th anniversary by showcasing its many achievements.
Principal Paul Lynch does not want the event to be a sombre occasion.
“We have known for a while that the closure was going to happen so this is more about just getting everyone together for an open day,” he said.
“The kids are going to be setting up a special memory booth to get people talking about their favourite memories of the school.”
Bellimbopinni Public School has five students this year who range from year 4 to year 6.
While it has always been one of the smaller schools in the area, Bellimbopinni has experienced a steady decline in its student population throughout the past decade, caused partly by the construction of the bypass and the effect it has had on housing in the area.
The school is on the Pacific Hwy, where the RMS bought houses before the bypass project.
In the past 12 months, there have been a series of community consultation meetings during which parents have been informed of the likelihood of the school’s closure.
These have been coupled with student transition days which have involved visits by the Bellimbopinni pupils to the schools where they will continue their education.
Mr Lynch said the aim had always been to make the impending closure as painless as possible.
“The community decided that instead of putting up a fight, we were just going to manage this ourselves,” he said.
“There is a little bit of sadness but the reality is that this was always going to happen so it is best to control it while we can.
“We are unique as a school in the way that there is an increased level of involvement from parents. We didn’t want this to become a battle.”
The Bellimbopinni open day will take place from noon to 4pm on November 16.