THE first sods have been turned on the new $11.2 million Mt Lawley primary school.
Construction should be completed by the end of next year, in time for enrolments in 2015.
The 100-year-old school was burnt down in July 2012 and the teenage arsonists sentenced to eight months’ gaol.
The Mount Lawley Society and hundreds of locals successfully lobbied for the Second Avenue brick facade to be retained in the new design, after a leaked report from the WA education department stated the most “cost-effective” measure was to entirely bulldoze the fire-ravaged school.
MLS president Bruce Wooldridge is relieved construction is finally underway.
“Under the released design, the significance of the original building to Mount Lawley has been respected and the character and appearance of the Second Avenue frontage is unmistakably in line with our expectations,” he says.
“It is an excellent outcome from both an educational and heritage perspective.
“Our position was always that these two objectives were not mutually exclusive, a view that was shared by the wider community.”
The school will include a two-storey building with 12 classrooms, an inclusive education classroom, a dental therapy unit, refurbished library and hard courts.
Mt Lawley Liberal MP Michael Sutherland is pleased the school community has been involved in the redesign: “This will be a wonderful new school that will reflect the heritage of the site whilst providing a modern school.”
by STEPHEN POLLOCK