Vertical school may be answer to Inner North overcrowding, says P&C

Ian Bushnell 21 November 2018 24

The Northbourne corridor to come: the ACT Parents and Citizens Association says a vertical school may be needed in the crowded light rail area. File photo.

The ACT Parents and Citizens Association has suggested that ‘going up’ might be a solution to a lack of space for a new primary school in the growing Northbourne corridor.

The idea of building a multi-storey or vertical school was floated in a Budget submission as part of lobbying for more schools to be built to cater for projected population increases in Gungahlin, central Belconnen and the Inner North, with the latter two being transformed by densification.

The submission said the Inner North schools were in strong demand and operating at near or above capacity – Ainslie Primary at 76 per cent, Campbell Primary 88 per cent, Lyneham Primary 86 per cent, Majura Primary 89 per cent, North Ainslie Primary 101 per cent, Turner Primary 84 per cent, Campbell High 83 per cent and Lyneham High at 103 per cent.

“Development along the tram corridor is expected to place further strain on the capacity of these schools within the next few years,” it said, recommending the ACT Government acquire land to build a vertical school, close to and linked with existing open urban spaces including parks.

P&C spokesperson Janelle Kennard said the Association wanted to start a conversation about finding innovative approaches to overcoming the lack of space in the corridor and overcrowding.

“Let’s not be hamstrung by the existing way we think about schools,” she said.

While the Association did not have a fully fledged proposal or a concrete plan about how tall a building would be required, it knew of vertical schools around the world that managed to use space innovatively, including creating really interesting play spaces.

Ms Kennard said many parents also told the Association repeatedly that they wanted their children schooled near their workplaces, which was more possible with extra capacity.

She said the government plan for the Inner North and inner Belconnen was for more density. “That’s great, we’re a changing city, were growing up. We have to let that excitement and innovation around that growing city flow into our school planning,” she said.

“If there isn’t the space for a traditional flat school then that’s why it’s important to consider something that takes up less of a footprint.”

According to The Urban Developer website, the South Australian, Victorian, New South Wales and Queensland governments have all committed major funding to vertical schooling in their biggest cities.

In Sydney, Arthur Phillip High School and Parramatta Public School are in the midst of a $225 million vertical education redevelopment, with Arthur Phillip projected to be 17 storeys and Parramatta four.

Surry Hills High School is a $60 million project planned for completion in 2020 that will house 47 classrooms, a gymnasium and grassed rooftop that caters to 1200 new students.

The Queensland Government has announced a $500 million proposal for two new vertical schools in inner-city Brisbane by 2020.

Melbourne’s first vertical school, Haileybury City Campus opened in January 2017, catering for 800 students ranging from Early Learning to Year 12.

The 10-storey building has two floors dedicated to art facilities with a professional standard drama studio, sports hall and university-level science labs.

In its Budget submission, the Parents and Citizens Association also urged the Government to build a new primary school in east Gungahlin, with current projections suggesting that the overall Gungahlin school population will double in the next 10 years, and in central Belconnen, where high-rise development is transforming the landscape and the population.


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24 Responses to Vertical school may be answer to Inner North overcrowding, says P&C
Wing Nut Wing Nut 7:57 pm 25 Nov 18

So long as there’s enough room for play grounds and sports facilities, then I don’t see a problem with going up.

David Brown David Brown 7:15 pm 24 Nov 18

They might as well go to school in a termite mound because that will likely be where their home is.

A_Cog A_Cog 2:30 pm 23 Nov 18


Gareth Rowlands Gareth Rowlands 6:24 pm 22 Nov 18

Ummmm most of the rest of the developed world does! Catch up!

Angela Hunter Angela Hunter 11:24 am 22 Nov 18

Why do always centralise everything then complain about congestion. 🤔

Beth Mansfield Beth Mansfield 10:50 am 22 Nov 18

Or we could, I don't know, reopen the schools which have been closed in recent years.

Julia Ross Julia Ross 7:55 am 22 Nov 18

What about all the schools in the area that have been closed? Oh yes, they were on prime expensive land for the government to sell at a profit. This Barr government is a joke.

Lauryn Roberts Lauryn Roberts 5:21 am 22 Nov 18

Kids need outdoors and room to move.

Maby high school or colleges in high rise style but leave the Kids on the ground

Lauryn Roberts Lauryn Roberts 5:20 am 22 Nov 18

It’s a pretty poor excuse for all the ground Australia has available.

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 11:48 pm 21 Nov 18

Good idea. Let’s fight overcrowding by adding more buildings.

James Kozanecki James Kozanecki 11:27 pm 21 Nov 18

Geez, it's not as if they're proposing a building with no windows... Heaps of schools are in big buildings and kids turn out fine.

Louise Anne Louise Anne 10:47 pm 21 Nov 18

No. Children's play and sport and PE space and fresh air should not be compromised because of endless urban density. They'll likely spend enough time in office blocks when older.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:57 pm 21 Nov 18

    Radical idea. They could ride their bike to school, like children used to do in the past, when there were no bike paths at all. Exercise and outside.

    Stephen Matthews Stephen Matthews 5:13 am 22 Nov 18

    Julie Macklin Nah!! Some parents are too helicopter to even let their little unicorns travel on those nasty old school buses

Zahidul Alam Zahidul Alam 10:37 pm 21 Nov 18

Another special idea as canberra has no space at all....😂

Cass Proudfoot Cass Proudfoot 9:52 pm 21 Nov 18

The old Downer Primary site next to the Downer sports oval would have made the perfect spot for a new school. It is central to all the overcrowded inner north schools. Instead they are going to build more units on it, for more kids to live in with no schools to go to.

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 10:13 pm 21 Nov 18

    Cass Proudfoot we need to protest strongly about this

    Cass Proudfoot Cass Proudfoot 10:20 pm 21 Nov 18

    500 new units coming in Watson too, but the population projection says that will only mean 10 more kids to the primary school, so no problem they say.

Conan Liu Conan Liu 9:48 pm 21 Nov 18

This may be the answer for high population density cities but not for our Canberra, known for its wide open spaces.

Andrea Kerr Andrea Kerr 9:46 pm 21 Nov 18

They have them in Europe

Donna Venables Donna Venables 9:08 pm 21 Nov 18

No. Kids need a playground.

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 8:59 pm 21 Nov 18

Brisbane’s inner-city “vertical school” was a result of bad planning – no-one foresaw a boom in popularity for inner-city living when they closed down inner-city schools decades ago. In Canberra we have heaps of green space throughout the inner north and plenty of warning. Rather than putting these schoolchildren under fluorescent lights in an office tower type building, why not simply make the one-storey North Ainslie, Ainslie and Turner schools two-storey? That way all the children will be able to play outdoors over lunch and will be less likely to become obese. There’s every danger that the inner north will end up with a couple of “pov” under-resourced vertical slum schools under this plan. Affluent parents will prefer to send their kids to the “fresh air” schools.

Kriso Hadskini Kriso Hadskini 8:08 pm 21 Nov 18

No, children need light and air and easy access to the outside and nature. They are not office workers.

    James Kozanecki James Kozanecki 11:25 pm 21 Nov 18

    I went to a school bang in the middle of the Sydney CBD and turned out fine... I think!

    We had a rooftop playground, which surprisingly had fresh air. Plus, our playground was the city, we got to learn the ins and outs of the Sydney CBD during our lunch breaks. It was a lot of fun!

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