New school for North Melbourne a step closer

New school for North Melbourne a step closer
Brendan Rees

A new campus for North Melbourne Primary School is one step closer after the state government appointed a builder with construction to start this year.

The new campus is set to open in 2023 after it received a $36.12 million boost in the 2020-21 state budget.

A state government spokesperson said the Victorian School Building Authority had undertaken “significant consultation” with the local community to hear about the facilities they wanted for their new, modern school.

Under the plans, it will feature a landscaped playground, an outdoor stage, tiered seating and flexi-space for events and performances as well as a competition-grade gym for basketball and netball.

A new kindergarten for three- and four-year-old children will be built on level five of the campus, including two rooms and opening onto outdoor learning and play spaces.

It’s a big win for the community which has campaigned for three years for the school to be a second campus of the existing North Melbourne Primary School, rather than a standalone school.

Megan Cusack, a member of the North Melbourne Primary School council, said, “We’re absolutely pleased with the outcome that has been achieved and what it will bring to the North Melbourne community in terms of being more inclusive and forward thinking in integrating.”

“We’re grateful that our concerns have been taken into consideration and the best outcome for the community.”

Located on Molesworth St, the new school will cater for significant enrolment growth and offer a “superb education to all local students” according to the state government.

The new builder appointed is Hansen Yuncken whose projects include Greater Shepparton Secondary College, Monash University Caulfield library, Bendigo Kangan TAFE’s city campus, and the Victorian Pride Centre.

The Education Department held a virtual information session in December last year where residents discussed the new school with the Victorian School Building Authority’s chief executive.

“The school community told us that they are keen to make the most of the unique opportunity offered by the proximity of the two school sites, and to ensure equity of access to the 21st century facilities the new campus will provide,” the department said.

Education design experts, principals at some of Melbourne’s other new schools and key First Nations elders in the area were also consulted as part of the project.

A final cost of the new school is yet to be determined as construction progresses.

“We’re excited to deliver a brand-new campus for North Melbourne Primary School to meet the needs of the area’s growing population,” the government spokesperson said.

The new school is part of the state’s government’s commitment of building 100 new schools across Victoria by 2026 “to grow our education state” •

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