UNCERTAINTY remains around the future of Mowbray College's Patterson campus in Melton.
The college's new principal, Tony Keirsten-Wakefield, could neither deny nor confirm the impending closure of the prep-to-year 12 Patterson campus of the independent college.
"I can't tell you [whether the campus is closing]. A decision hasn't been made. The board has given me the task of creating a detailed strategic plan," he said.
The plan will explore options for the future of Mowbray College with costings for consolidating with other campuses or reducing the size of the Melton campus.
Mr Keirsten-Wakefield has been faced with rumours that the college was closing since he became principal just over a month ago.
But he remains positive about the future of the school, which also has junior and senior campuses in Caroline Springs.
"I want as many parents and students committed to staying at Mowbray and getting what I believe is a great education here. That's what I see; that's the vision I have," Mr Keirsten-Wakefield said.
"We intend to be at Patterson campus until the end of the year and as soon as any decision is made, parents and students will be informed as soon as possible."
He added that provisions for currently enrolled students would be put in place if the Melton campus was to close.
Prior to his role as principal, Mr Keirsten-Wakefield sat on the college board as chairman for more than 18 months, and his children attended the school.
"I believe I can make a difference here and I didn't come into this role because I thought I was going to be an undertaker. My vision is positive."
Meetings with parents and students were arranged last Thursday and Friday across the three campuses.
Mr Keirsten-Wakefield said the parents had filled the Town Centre campus library last Thursday and he made a commitment to communicate with them on a weekly basis.
Mr Keirsten-Wakefield admitted that Mowbray, which this year cost from $6460 to $9727 in compulsory fees and levies to attend, was in financial difficulty.
"Maintaining buildings that are 30 years old and the reduction in enrolment exacerbates that."
But he said people spreading rumours of the school's uncertain future were "contributing to the destruction of Mowbray".
Mowbray College board deputy chair Tracey McKenzie stressed that no decisions had been made.
"We are in the process of engaging an educational project manager to formulate a plan, to look at some of the options. The person has done the same for a number of large schools.
Mrs McKenzie said she remained positive about the school's future and also promised to inform parents and students as soon as possible.
"I want the whole school to survive. I love this school. I have three children at the school. I volunteer 20 to 30 hours a week. I wouldn't do it if I didn't want it to work. I was elected by the members. I don't take the position lightly. We want the best decision for everyone," she said.
The Patterson campus has more than 540 junior and senior students, while around 910 attend the newer Brookside junior and Town Centre senior campuses in Caroline Springs, which are not under threat of closure.
About 65 per cent of students travelled to Patterson campus by bus from areas as far out as Bacchus Marsh, Williamstown, Point Cook and Riddells Creek.
Meanwhile, Melton community radio station president Wade "Jman" Lester said the station was looking for another location from which to broadcast.
"We were advised some time ago that we may be required to relocate so we have started the process, regardless of what happens with Mowbray," he said.