22 February 2024

Take a look at the new public school coming to Whitlam

| Ian Bushnell
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Artist's impression of the Whitlam public school.

An artist’s impression of the Whitlam public school. It will cater for up to 780 preschool to year 6 students and 130 early childhood places. Images: Hayball.

The construction of another school in the growing Molonglo Valley is a step closer with the submission of a development application for the Whitlam Preschool to Year 6 School and Early Childhood Education and Care Centre (ECEC).

The ACT Government has committed $76.8 million to the new school, which will cater for up to 780 preschool to year 6 students and 130 places in the ECEC. It’s due to open in 2026.

The double-storey school will be built on an almost 5ha sloping greenfield site adjacent to John Gorton Drive on the corner of Hazel Hawke Avenue and Alice Moyle Way, alongside the proposed local shops.

A j-shaped main building embracing landscaped playgrounds will occupy the southern end of the site and contain the administration office and end-of-trip facilities, classrooms, library and the ECEC, which will be separated internally.

There is also a space reserved for a future building on the east side near the main entry adjacent John Gorton Drive.

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A hall/gymnasium and hardcourts will be sited higher on the slope on the other side of the play areas, while a sportsfield and car park will be developed in the north adjacent Hazel Hawke Avenue.

There will be parking of 109 spaces for the school – 73 for staff and 36 for the parent drop-off and pick-up bay on the east side – and 26 for the preschool and ECEC on the south side where six electric vehicle charging stations are proposed.

A further 130 car parking spaces are proposed outside the site, including next to the sports field.

Artist's impression of the Whitlam public school.

The Whitlam school is expected to open in 2026.

The traffic report says it is hoped off-road shared paths will encourage school children and their parents to ride bicycles to school.

The site will be served by public transport stops, bike paths and footpaths.

The school and ECEC is expected to generate 810 traffic movements in the morning peak and 714 in the afternoon peak, but this will not adversely impact the adjoining road network according to the traffic report.

The school will meet a range of sustainability standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and be energy efficient, such as on-site photovoltaic (PV) energy generation, which will cover at least 15 per cent of total energy consumption.

At least 30 per cent of hardstand areas will be shaded and three-quarters of the site will have elements that reduce the impact of the heat island effect.

More than half the site will be covered by softscape areas, including gardens and grass, while the tree canopy – a mix of deciduous and evergreens – will amount to 13 per cent of the site.

Education Minister Yvette Berry said the new public school was part of the government’s commitment to meet enrolment growth and cater for the new residential suburb of Whitlam.

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“Lodging the development application for the new school in Whitlam is an exciting milestone,” Minister Berry said.

“As the suburb of Whitlam continues to grow, I know locals are excited about the opening of a new public primary school and early childhood education and care centre for the Molonglo Valley.

“This new school shows the ACT Government’s commitment to build modern, state-of-the-art school infrastructure for Canberra’s future.”

Comments on the DA are open until 12 March.

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