Backdown over oval classrooms

WA’s education department has agreed to rethink its plans to build new classrooms on Inglewood primary’s oval.

The $3.5 million building would add six classrooms and make space for 192 new students, but the plan was roundly condemned by parents and neighbours who say losing play space to deal with increased demand is an unacceptable quick-fix.

There was also concerns about traffic management and the building’s newfangled design.

Following a 250-signature petition and lobbying from local MPs, education boss Sharyn O’Neill wrote to Inglewood parent Petra Del Fante saying an alternative location and redesigned building more in keeping with the traditional streetscape would be investigated.

Some impact

“The Department is working with the project architects to investigate the development of building plans for an alternative location behind the existing western teaching block,” Ms O’Neill wrote.

“Although building in this new location will still have some impact on the school oval, it will be less than if the building were to be constructed in the previous location.”

Ms Del Fante welcomed the back-down, but has reservations.

“The outcome, to be honest, has been so far not so bad. At least they are reconsidering what they should have done in the first place … what we don’t feel confident about is that they’re not going to have community consultation,” Ms Del Fante said.

Ms O’Neill said the department had ruled out a multi-storey building with a reduced footprint as too disruptive.

Bayswater councillor Catherine Ehrhardt, who’s a parent at the school, described that decision as unusual, as a two-storey solution had already been approved for similar upgrades to Mount Hawthorn primary school.

“I’m quite happy for the school to go to four storeys you know, if it gives the children enough space to play,” Ms Ehrhardt said.

by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM

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