Construction has begun on Melbourne's first public vertical high school, Richmond High School.
Located in Melbourne's booming inner-city suburbs, the school will cater for 650 year seven-to-12 students across two sites. A four-storey academic precinct will be located on Highett Street, and a sports precinct will occupy a site on Gleadell Street.
Richmond is one of Melbourne's oldest industrial suburbs, but has seen dynamic changes in recent years as gentrification crept through the suburb. The area retains a strong commitment to social housing, and contains rich and diverse cultures. Students come from a range of socio-economic backgrounds.
The start of construction on the $43 million project was marked by Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister for Education James Merlino, Member for Richmond Richard Wynne, and local community members at a ceremony this morning.
Inaugural principal Colin Simpson, an award-winning education leader and also an alumnus of the original Richmond High School, will spend the next 12 months developing a vision for school, appointing staff, and working closely with the architects and builders.
Minister for Education James Merlino said the school is being built in the middle of Melbourne to meet the demand of booming inner-city suburbs.
“We’re building local schools right in the heart of Melbourne’s inner suburbs to meet the growing demand,” he said.
Member for Richmond, Richard Wynne, said the school "will offer first-class education for local kids, and great community facilities, including netball courts, conveniently close to public transport.”
David Tweedie, director of Hayball, the architect on the Richmond High School project, said the design is based on building school 'learning communities'. Learning communities are "flexible, adaptable spaces accommodating up to 108 children".
He said, "Community, diversity, wellbeing, sustainability, safety, technology, and ensuring learners are at the centre of everything – these were central to the brief and areas we really prioritised with our design of the vertical school.”
To facilitate building a school community, "all the functions that invite school community participation on the ground floor – the library, the performing arts spaces, and spaces for sharing food," said Tweedie.
The Victorian state government has 42 new government schools in the pipeline, including 10 that opened this year. The government has invested a record $1.8 billion in new schools and school upgrades around the state.
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