By ALLISON HORE
Multi-million dollar upgrades to Chippendale’s Darlington Public School have been given the go-ahead, with the first stage of construction works beginning this month.
The co-educational primary school’s refurbishment plans have been in the works since the NSW government’s 2017 budget. Now, the $40 million State Significant Development application has been approved by the Department of Planning Industry and Environment.
Through the construction process, the entire school will be demolished and rebuilt.
The extension is set to include 9 teaching spaces to accommodate the growing school community, new staff facilities, a special programs room and upgrades to the school’s canteen and library.
To encourage active transport to and from school, the refurbished school will have a minimum of 63 bicycle and 82 scooter parking spaces for students to use.
Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said the planned upgrades would “transform the teaching and learning experiences for students and staff”.
The school’s catchment area includes Chippendale, Darlington, Redfern and Waterloo. With a number of high density housing developments underway and nearing completion in the area, the population is projected to increase significantly making increasing the school’s capacity crucial.
Currently the school can only accommodate around 210 students. When the refurbishment is completed up to 510 students will be able to enrol in the school.
School infrastructure bonanza
The upgrades are part of the NSW Government’s $7 billion funding pool to deliver 200 new and upgraded schools over the next four years. In addition, the NSW Government is injecting $1.3 billion into school maintenance projects over the next five years.
Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the project would not only provide “world-class education facilities” but also aid in the recovery of the state’s struggling economy. The Department of Planning and Environment estimates the refurbishment of Darlington Public School would create $41 million capital investment, 127 construction jobs and an additional 12 full time operational jobs.
The population of the Sydney local government area is projected to reach 250,000 people by 2026, according to 2019 state government estimates. As such, increasing the capacity of schools in the Sydney city is a priority.
As well as the Darlington Public upgrades, a $53 million upgrade is planned for Fort Street Public School in Miller’s Point, one of the country’s oldest public schools. The refurbishment will see the school’s capacity doubled.
Construction is also still underway on the 14-storey Inner Sydney High School tower on the Department of Education’s site on the corner of Cleveland and Chalmers Streets in Surry Hills. When finished, the school will accommodate up to 1,200 students from Years 7 to 12.
Construction on the Darlington public school project is expected to be completed by mid-2023.