There will be more agriculture training offered after a $2 million redevelopment was officially opened at the troubled Glenormiston campus in western Victoria this week.
Students will be able to reside at the former Glenormiston Agricultural College near Terang for the first time since it closed as a residential college in 2014.
The Victorian government is refurbishing some of the dilapidated on-site accommodation to allow short-stay options for students and staff.
The spending comes despite the sale of the former campus and its historic pastoral mansion on a 385ha site to Geelong-based businessman Dean Montgomery for $4.68 million.
There will be a greater emphasis on horticultural courses as well after classrooms are refurbished and a new hothouse is built.
Training and Skills Minister Gayle Tierney visited Glenormiston and said the spending would boost agriculture and horticulture training in the region.
Along with Longerenong in the Wimmera and Dookie near Shepparton, Glenormiston was originally one of Victoria's three big agricultural colleges.
Glenormiston has new classroom and workshop areas to host practical and theory lessons, including artificial breeding programs for dairy and cattle industries.
Training will be provided by South West TAFE based at Warrnambool which plans to offer Certificate II and Certificate III Horticulture courses from Term 3.
Ms Tierney said: "The historic Glenormiston campus means a lot, both to the local community and to Victoria's training sector, which is why we have worked to undo the damage of the former Liberal and National Government.
"We haven't just secured training at Glenormiston, but we are also expanding it - to make sure locals get more great training opportunities while also meeting the changing needs of our growing agriculture sector."
Courses in agriculture and horticulture will be offered for the first time at South West TAFE in Colac as well.
The government is spending $1 million on new equipment at South West TAFE's Craiglands farm in the Colac district.
More than $264,000 will be spent on two quad bikes, a side-by-side utility vehicle, a new tractor and security system and help to upgrade the horticulture workshops and polycarbonate greenhouse sheeting.
There has been an enrolment increase of 56 per cent in agriculture and horticulture from 2020 to 2021.
MORE READING: Satellite data for remote calving on the doorstep.
Glenormiston was originally well known for the quality of its equine courses.
The sale deal to Mr Montgomery was conditional upon education continuing to be provided until at least 2027.
One of the sticking points on the closure of the college and the private sale had been the future of the historic mansion on the site.
Scottish pastoralist Niel Black bought the 17,612ha property in 1840 and founded a family dynasty that in 1949 sold it to the Victorian government.
The Agriculture Department opened the college there in 1971 and in 1995 it was amalgamated with the University of Melbourne.
A feature of the mansion is the 35 elaborate wooden panels crafted for Glenormiston's internal staircase by Australia's most celebrated carver of the early 20th century, Robert Prenzel.
Start the day with all the big news in agriculture! Sign up below to receive our daily Farmonline newsletter.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.