The Victorian Government’s vision for a major schools upgrade will go ahead following a $10m grant and the appointment Hayball architects to oversee the project.
It will see Australia’s largest education precinct, the Footscray Learning Precinct (FLP), link, expand and upgrade schools across Melbourne’s inner-west.
The end result will see the integration of an early childhood centre, junior secondary school, a vertical school in the inner-city suburb of Seddon and several refurbishments to existing primary schools in the area.
The FLP is part of the Victorian Government’s $2.5bn investment in the state’s schools, including over 1,000 existing schools projects and 56 new schools.
Victorian Education Minister, James Merlino, announced the Footscray Learning Precinct Feasibility Report, which details the upgrades, and pledged a further $10.6m towards the project.
“The Footscray Learning Precinct is an Australian-first that will transform education in the inner-west,” Merlino said in a statement.
“We’re listening to the community and getting on with this project – to give these kids a great education and the best possible start in life.”
Member for Williamstown, Wade Noonan, said the “ground-breaking project” would “inspire children to aim higher and do better, whichever path they choose”.
The next stage of development includes advanced master planning and designs for all educational sites, including a new secondary school to be built in the inner-city suburb of Seddon.
This includes the redevelopment of Gilmore College for Girls and Footscray City Primary School.
Richard Leonard, director at Hayball, said that as one of Melbourne’s biggest growth corridors, the project presents “an extraordinary opportunity” to use education as a key driver in the urban transformation of Footscray.
“Never before has Australia seen a learning precinct of this scale, linking preschool, K-12 and tertiary education spaces together across three hubs to transform Footscray from an industrial city to a knowledge city,” Leonard said in a statement.
“There’s an enormous opportunity here to explore innovative models of education, and take cues from international exemplars to design a series of buildings, spaces and facilities that will evolve as students, teachers, communities and curriculums do.”