Larrakeyah Primary School: The Master Plan
The need for a Master Plan
Larrakeyah Primary School is one of the oldest schools in Darwin, opening in 1963. Many of the original buildings are still in place: Rooms 1 – 7, The Arts room, the Preschool, the Assembly area (although some renovations have been made), the Administration block and the Library.
A number of additions have been made to the school over the past 12 years:
- 2010 - the Building the Education Revolution was responsible for 5 new classrooms, relocating the canteen to the assembly area and renovating the assembly area and stage;
- 2014 – 2 new classrooms were built between the assembly area and Packard street and substantial storage space provided in the back carpark;
- 2017 – 3 new classrooms and an ICT lab were built in an elevated building. The Department ofInfrastructure, Planning and Logistics have advised that it is not economical to spend money refurbishing our original rooms and buildings.
In each of these cases extra classrooms were required due to increasing enrolments and the need to replace ageing infrastructure. Also in each of these cases the new rooms were filled and extra classes were needed.
Larrakeyah Primary School is at that stage again. We are running out of space to fit the classes we require for all our students. Currently, the school is at 94% of its capacity. We have 19 classes this year from Transition to Year 6 plus the Preschool. Based on current projections of enrolments we will need 20 – 21 classes next year plus we have a waitlist for Preschool entry of 20 children on an annual basis. If nothing is done then the School will need to stop running some programs and use those rooms for classrooms – the Cooking and Gardening program, the Library, the ICT lab.
What is the Master Plan?
The Master Plan sets out the School Board’s Vision for Larrakeyah Primary School into the future. Upon completion it will improve the quality of the learning environment and facilitate the achievement of the school’s long term objectives as determined by the school’s pedagogy and educational vision. The Master Plan proposes to establish within the school:
- 27 dedicated classrooms;
- a centralised Learning Resource Centre incorporating the Library;
- a Steam Facility;
- a Visual Arts/Home Economics Centre with a school garden;
- a dedicated Outside School Hours care centre;
- a new 2 classroom Preschool building; and, renovate and enlarge the Administration building.
These new facilities and classrooms will be established around landscaped grounds that will provide simplified and safe access from car parks to classrooms and other buildings. There will be clear lines of sight from the Preschool through to the end of the oval. The buildings will be designed and situated to make the best use of the environment and create a cooling environment within the school.
The Master Plan will be completed in a 3 stage process:
Stage 1: 4 new classrooms will be built to connect with the current elevated building and replace the unsightly, old lunch shed. There will be 2 ground level rooms and 2 on the first floor. A new 2 classroom Preschool will be built on the existing Preschool site along the fence line of Packard Street.
Stage 2: 4 new classrooms will be built on the Marella street side of the school connecting to the current elevated building (s downstairs/2 upstairs). The Learning Resource Centre, Visual Arts/Home Economics Centre and the Administration building will be completed.
Stage 3: The STEAM Facility will be built in the centre of the site. This will be an elevated building with plenty of window area to provide clear lines of sight through the school. Finally, 6 classrooms will be built along the Defence Base side of the school connecting with the 4 classrooms built in Stage 1.
The School Board have been fortunate to have engaged Hully Liveris Design Company to develop a Master Plan that incorporates the ideas and needs of the teaching staff and Leadership of the school as well as to ensure that the educational needs of students are going to be met well into the future. Hully Liveris has worked on the previous developments within the school and, as a long term Larrakeyah resident and ex-student, he understands what is required.
The Larrakeyah Leadership and School Board are very excited about the Master Plan and what it will do for the future of students currently at the school and those who will arrive in the future. There has been a great deal of work done in the development and pushing for the funding through the Education department. We are very hopeful that work will begin in the near future.
Letter to the School Community from the Larrakeyah Primary School Board
The Board is continuing to lobby for funding to allow the construction of the first stage of infrastructure identified in the Master Plan. The board has now presented the Master Plan and the urgent case for additional infrastructure to the candidates for Port Darwin for Labour, CLP and Territory Alliance, as well as their respective leaders. The Hon Selena Uibo MLA, Minister for Education and Ms Karen Weston, the Chief Executive for the Department of Education have also visited the school, receiving a similar presentation. As parents your help in continuing to discuss this issue with all candidates and asking what tangible actions they will take will help encourage action.
One question I have been asked by several parents is why is the school focused on increasing capacity instead of reducing numbers by enforcing the priority catchment rules? The short answer is that the school has been enforcing the priority enrolment policy for some time, however the pressure on student numbers is driven the growing trend for families to move into the school’s priority catchment area. Increasing numbers of families are living in high density accommodation in in the city, including growing numbers of families accessing the Skilled Regional Visa program. With regards to the priority enrolment policy the residence test applies at the time of enrolment for each child. The school does however encourage families to re-enrol their children at a school that serves their new address if they move out of the catchment area.
For those who are wondering what is contained in the Master Plan a link to ‘Master Plan 2020’ document can be found on the schools website. Key design criteria were to facilitate 21 st Century Learning and to maintain an open, spacious learning environment whilst increasing the capacity of the school by 150 students. One of the approaches to achieve this is the concentrate buildings around the outside of the school facing in, using two stories for primary classrooms to reduce the building footprint. Once all three stages of the Masterplan are completed, the oldest buildings which divide the school will have been removed and replaced with an elevated STEAM facility like the new classroom block, opening up the school grounds considerably.
With the reopening of the Northern Territory borders it is very important for everyone to concentrate on social distancing, hand hygiene, and self-isolation if feeling unwell. Dropping our guard at this point could very easily result in a situation like is occurring in Victoria, so please appreciate and follow the COVID safe procedures that the school has implemented.
Larrakeyah Primary School Board
0427 462 423