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State Government pledge on school sites

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PROACTIVE STANCE: Mayor Clare McLaughlin pushes the school site issue with Premier Stephen Marshall and five of his ministers last month in Adelaide.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin has praised the State Government and Education Minister John Gardner following reassuring comments on the future of Whyalla’s three high school sites.

Mayor McLaughlin last month met with South Australian Premier Steven Marshall and five of his senior ministers where she sought clarification on the State Government’s intentions for the high school sites that will become vacant once the new $100m high school is operational.

During the meeting, Mayor McLaughlin called on the State Government to fund a study into potential uses of the high school sites that would benefit the city. She used the example of former primary schools at Bevan Crescent, Scott Street and McRitchie Crescent that had been left idle and become unsightly with safety and health concerns

Speaking to The Advertiser (Wednesday, October 9) during the design release for the new high school, Mr Gardner said the project was not reliant on the sale of the existing three high school sites and the government would work towards realising their potential use.

“We’ll be working through (that) with other government departments and the local community,” Mr Gardner said of the high school sites' potential use.

“What we want to ensure is that there is value realised in those campuses, whether that is financial or community value.

“What we must ensure is that, as has happened sometimes in the past, we don’t see school sites left vacant with no purpose for them attached for many, many years.

“But right now and until 2022, they are very much in need as school sites, and so that gives us a significant time to work through what are the best solutions for these campuses."

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STATE OF THE ART: An artist's impression of the new Whyalla high school.

In her submission to the Premier and ministers, Mayor McLaughlin suggested a combination of residential development, community use and sporting facility development for the three sites.

“We are so appreciative of the new $100m school and we're happy the government is on the same page as Council and the community on the importance of these three sites being properly and promptly utilised once the new school is completed,” Mayor McLaughlin said.

 “We share the community’s concern on the future of these sites and will continue to work with the government and relevant department to ensure this happens."

When revealing the design for the new high school this week, the State Government said the new facility will offer a world class learning environment for 1500 students in Year 7 to 12 with strong links to further study options.

Construction is anticipated to commence in early to mid-2020, with the school opening in Term 1, 2022. The school will replace Edward John Eyre, Stuart and Whyalla high schools.

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