High-rise school for heart of city
High hopes: Principal Rensche Diggeden. Picture: Steve Ferrier/The West Australian

Perth is set to get its first high-rise school in the heart of the city with a six-storey office building in William Street that will be converted to classrooms.

The secondary school, to be called Perth Anglican Grammar School when it opens next year, will be modelled on city-based colleges in Sydney.

Teachers and students at Murdoch College, a small non-denominational private school founded on the Murdoch University campus 14 years ago, learnt yesterday their school would move to the city, join the Anglican Schools Commission and change its name.

The school now has about 280 students from Years 7 to 12, but is expected to grow to more than 400 pupils at the new site at 50 William Street, near the corner of St Georges Terrace.

Principal Rensche Diggeden said Murdoch College had become unsustainable in its current form and location. As well as being close to theatres, art galleries and sports facilities, the new school would include a rooftop recreational area with artificial turf and basketball hoops.

She said students from as far away as Mandurah and Butler attended the school now and the move would make it more accessible to public transport.

"The new location is 300m to Perth underground station, so students wouldn't even have to cross the road to get to the school," she said.

"There are so many more families moving into the city and there's no real schooling options for those children."

The only other city-based schools are Catholic schools Mercedes and Trinity colleges.

Commission chief executive Peter Laurence said it had been planning for several years to establish a school in the CBD to cater for the ballooning inner-city population, which is predicted to double from about 20,000 now to 40,000 by 2031.

"We see this as a first step and further down the track, in a few years time, we're hopeful of opening a primary school," he said.

The Rev. Laurence said students would be able to cross the road to Central Park and take buses to sports facilities at Langley and Beatty parks. "There's not going to be green grass to run around on at the building itself, but within a short distance it will be accessible," he said.

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said she supported the idea in principle, though the ASC had not yet applied for planning approval from the City of Perth.

"There are a lot of parents working in the city who would find this school very attractive," she said.

The West Australian

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