Last week we met with Victor Dominello MP (Member for Ryde) to discuss Marsden High School, following the recent announcement that it will be relocating to the new Meadowbank Education Precinct. After much discussion in the RDM group about the relocation, we thought it helpful to get more information on the topic. Victor answered the following questions for us:
Are you closing Marsden High School?
Victor: No. This is absolutely untrue. It is fake news. Marsden High School is being relocated to Meadowbank Education Precinct. The new buildings will be “state of the art” in design with 21stcentury facilities allowing students the opportunity to interact in an environment specifically created for optimum learning results, catering for double the capacity of students. I am proud that we are not shutting schools, we are building them. We are not allowing what happened in the past to dictate our future. Under various Labor Governments, Peter Board High School was closed in 1998 and the property sold in 2006 – we are now buying back that site to build a new high school. The Labor Government also closed Ryde High School in 1986 – I am proud to say that we are building a new primary school on this Smalls Rd site, this new school is due to open in 2020.
What about ongoing maintenance for Marsden High over the next 3 years?
Victor: Rest assured that all necessary maintenance work will be continued. However, significant capital works will be reviewed and addressed at the new Marsden High School which will open in 2021/22.
How will the new Marsden High School be different?
Victor: The new school will cater for up to 1500 secondary students (with an option for an extra 500 students), doubling the current capacity of the school, and will see it become part of a new vertical hybrid school along with Meadowbank Public School. But it will stay the same in many ways – the name of the school, the uniform, even the anthem will stay the same.
How will you accommodate students from the new Melrose Park development? (old Putt-Putt golf site)
Victor: The Parramatta Putt-Putt development is not in my electorate of Ryde. It is part of Parramatta Council. The Putt-Putt development will contain about 10,000 dwellings and will take place over the next 10 years. Parramatta Council will receive significant development contributions and significant rates as a result of this massive development. This money will go towards improving local parks and amenity in the Parramatta Council area.
Phase 2 of the Parramatta light rail will go through Putt-Putt. It will provide additional connectivity to the high schools west of Wharf and Marsden Rds. If Parramatta Council wants to support this massive Putt-Putt development, it will need to ensure that there are sufficient schools in the Parramatta Council area to support the subsequent population, rather than rely on the residents of Ryde to provide the schooling. My number one obligation is to look after my constituents in Ryde.
Ryde doesn’t need more apartments, it needs more open space. The open space and sporting needs of Ryde is far more important to me than the developer needs of the Parramatta Putt-Putt proposal.
There are thousands of netball families in Ryde. That’s why relocating Marsden High School to be nearer to the population density in Meadowbank and creating a multi-million dollar Marsden Netball Sports Complex will be a big win for Ryde.
How will you address all the traffic in Meadowbank?
Victor: Meadowbank is a new demographic epicentre with all the apartments (that were approved under the former Labor Governments’ Part 3A planning laws). Therefore, it is sensible to move the schools closer to the centre. We are fortunate in Meadowbank to have easy access to rail and ferry services. Students in Eastwood, Denistone and West Ryde will have much easier transport access to this new education precinct.
A traffic steering committee will be established with Transport for NSW, Roads, TAFE, Education and Ryde Council to ensure we optimise opportunities to ease traffic as the design of the education precinct is matured. For example; Ryde Council as part of the developer contributions, can expand Constitution Rd between Bowden St and the train station, expand the walk bridge overpass to TAFE, and install the pedestrian lights on the lower side of Meadowbank station (the NSW government has already honoured its part of the agreement by installing pedestrian lights on the high side of the station). Providing more turning lanes onto Victoria Rd from Bowden Street and additional entry and exit points from Meadowbank train station can also be considered. Parking and drop off points will all need to be taken into account. The building of the education Precinct over the next 3 years will enable the NSW Government and Council to address traffic issues holistically rather than by piecemeal approach.
How will you integrate primary, secondary and TAFE into a safe learning environment?
Victor: With modern designs, buildings can look integrated from the outside but be completely detached on the inside with separate entry points for primary, secondary and TAFE students. Safety in design will be paramount and there will be plenty of community consultation to ensure we get this right.
What will happen to the current netball site at Meadowbank?
Victor: The netball courts could be converted into additional playing fields eg for soccer or hockey. Or they could be converted into passive recreational space. This will be determined by Council.
Marsden High School has been part of our community for 60 years. It is an exciting time to be part of Ryde and this relocation to the Meadowbank Education Precinct.
These projects will be part of an unparalleled investment in education, sport and recreation in our area, with hundreds of millions of dollars in investment. It will be state of the art, it will be nation-leading and it is something that we will all be very proud of.
When will the Meadowbank Education Precinct open?
Victor: Construction is expected to start in 2019 following community consultation and all the necessary construction approvals. It is planned that the construction of the education precinct will be completed in 2021.
There will be many opportunities for staff, students and parents, as well as neighbours and the local community, to provide input into and feedback on the design of the schools.