Poignant memorial for driving force

DEARLY MISSED: The school is dedicating an outdoor learning space and garden in Jen’s honour featuring a mosaic that depicts the varying colours of purple.

DEARLY MISSED: The school is dedicating an outdoor learning space and garden in Jen’s honour featuring a mosaic that depicts the varying colours of purple.

Jennifer Bates was Project Manager of the Hunter Sports High redevelopment from the end of 2014 up until her death in late 2016. 

Her passion, energy and professionalism endeared her to all during her time on the job and as a mark of respect, a commemorative mosaic wall sculpture and plaque will be installed at the new school in her honour.

“She came on board the project about 2014-15,” Drew Varnum,  Director of Public Works Advisory for Hunter New England Region, said.

“She had an architectural background and was young, enthusiastic and switched on, driving the project on many levels with the team and community. Tragically, she died the day before the contract for construction was handed down.”

 The news of her passing was a very difficult time, Hunter Sports High Principal Rachel Byrne said. 

“She was an incredible person who was very good at her job. She   ensured the Project Reference Group (PRG) stayed on track and that all members felt included and given an opportunity to voice their opinions and ideas. She was a huge support for me and was always available to discuss any concerns or issues that came up in a very prompt and knowledgeable way.” 

The school is dedicating an outdoor learning space and garden in Jen’s honour featuring a mosaic that depicts the varying colours of purple that was Jen’s favourite colour. There are also a number of purple flowers planted in the garden. 

The Jen Bates Memorial will be officially opened on March 5 this year. Both her husband Jordy Bates and her mother Kathryn Bennett have been involved in the design of the space. 

 Students and staff have also assisted in putting the mosaic together under the specialist guidance of Michelle Schmitzer who owns the local Dynamic Mosaic Supplies Company. 

“This will certainly be a space that will hold a special place for me,” Ms Byrne said. 

“Jen was great to work with, her influence in the new school can be seen throughout.  She made a major contribution to the school as we now see it.

“I have no doubt she would be incredibly proud of how everything has turned out.” 

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