The Ultimo community has rejected a government proposal to replace Ultimo Public School with an apartment block that will house a new school.
The unprecedented concept, mooted last night at a community meeting, was offered as a solution to the problem of accommodating the area’s growing school-age population.
The plan would allow a developer to demolish the school, build a residential high-rise apartment on the site, then tenant the school on a few levels of the block. There would be a separate entrance for the school. There would be facilities for 600 students – the school has 300 now – and would include an “exercise yard” covered with wire mesh for safety.
The president of Ultimo Public School’s P&C Association, Bill d’Anthes, told The Newsroom there was no way the concept, opposed by the NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson, Sydney MP Alex Greenwich and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, would go ahead.
“Nothing will be done if the community and the parents of the school oppose the plans, which they have,” he said. “We have been trying to build another school called Pyrmont Public School, on the corner of Wattle and Hicks streets [now the Wattle St Depot].”
The Pyrmont Community Group also pledged its support to the school.
The group’s president, Jean Stuart, said parents of students attending Ultimo were “horrified” by the government plan.
“The community unanimously decided for the school to remain where it is,” Ms Stuart said. “The census says there is an increase of the number of students living in the inner-city [but] how can they allow children to recreate in a high-rise building?”
A Department of Education spokesman, Mark Henderson, told The Newsroom it was unlikely the plan would go ahead.
“The Department will not impose a solution on the school community that they [the community] do not want,” Mr Henderson said. – Sarah Belle Goodson