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    High-rise schools tipped for Parramatta; NSW needs fresh design focus for educational infrastructure

    Nathan Johnson

    If all goes according to NSW Premier Mike Baird’s plan, a 15-storey high-rise school and an adjacent four-storey primary school will be built in Parramatta by 2019, with the combined ability to house 3,000 students.

    Arthur Phillip High at Macquarie St Parramatta and its neighbour Parramatta Public School, will both be rebuilt as part of a $100 million development announced on Thursday by Baird.

    The development forms part of the Government’s $1 billion Rebuilding NSW Schools Fund which will have a focus on building innovative, future-focused educational infrastructure. The government says that it is working with world-leading educators, designers and architects to create “classrooms for the future”.

    It comes at a time of large-scale growth for both the Parramatta CBD, which has seen a population growth of 98 per cent in the past ten years, and Northern Parramatta, which is tipped to have 4,000 new apartments by 2025.

    Both schools are reportedly at capacity and have large enrolment waiting lists, however neither has the land necessary to expand out to meet their growing student population.

    Above: An artist’s impression of the new Parramatta high-rise school Below: Arthur Phillip High School on Macquarie St will be expanded from 1300 to 2000 students after the high-rise redevelopment. Images: NSW GOV and Wikipedia.

    While building up is the preferred option for the NSW Government, Baird did emphasise that the development will only go ahead if his government was given a mandate to sell the state's electricity poles and wires at the upcoming March election.

    The development will provide a new high school for up to 2,000 students on the existing Arthur Phillip High School site; and a new primary school for up to 1,000 students on the existing Parramatta Public School site.

    The projects will be built in stages to limit disturbance to the already over capacity Arthur Phillip High and Parramatta Public Schools.

    The Sydney Business Chamber has welcomed the new education plan launched by the NSW Liberal & Nationals, calling it a “a step in the right direction, toward transforming the city and the education sector.”

    However while the Chamber commended the idea for a high-rise school in the CBD they would prefer it was redeveloped on the fringes of the city, freeing up CBD land for business and workforce.

    “While the proposal is generally good, it would be better to see the Arthur Phillip High school and the Parramatta public school redeveloped on the edge of the CBD. This would free up very large parcels of land in the Parramatta CBD for jobs,” reads a statement on their website.

    The high-rise schools come at a time of large-scale growth for Parramatta over the next ten years with more than 4,000 new apartments planned for North Parramatta over that period.

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