Vertical primary school proposed for Western Sydney
A Catholic primary school planned for Westmead in Parramatta could become Sydney’s newest vertical school, with the council and state planning department lending support to the project despite concerns over traffic and access to open space.
Proposed by the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta, the Westmead Catholic Community Project would include the delivery of a six-storey primary school building at the church’s Darcy Street campus, currently home to three schools, Catherine McAuley Westmead (secondary girls’ school), Parramatta Marist High School (secondary boys’ school) and Mother Teresa Primary School.
Designed Alleanza Architecture, the new building would accommodate the Mother Theresa Primary School as well as the Sacred Heart Primary School, which would be relocated from its current Ralph Street address. The school would cater for an additional 1,680 students.
The City of Parramatta initially objected to the proposal because of concerns about the impact on traffic, the lack of pedestrian connections to the surrounding area and limited access to sports fields and active recreation facilities. However, it dropped its objections in September 2021, citing improvements to the urban connections and provision of open space.
The NSW planning department is supportive of the proposal overall, but also noted the potential for “significant adverse impacts on the Darcy Road/Bridge Road/Coles car park intersection.” The department, in consultation with Transport for NSW, is recommended that the school be required to conduct regular traffic assessment of the intersection once the school opens and that it should pay for the upgrade of the intersection when required.
The Independent Planning Commission is considering the proposal.
In planning documents, Alleanza Architecture note, “The new K- 6 School building is an innovative, contemporary school designed to facilitate the latest developments in Teaching and Learning for Primary Schools… the building is characterized by the integration of internal and external Teaching and Learning facilities and spaces in a building form where constructed open space almost equals enclosed space.
“Distinct horizontal expression and provision of voids vertically through the three-dimensional form of the building, combined with landscaping within the voids, will provide a dramatic vision of gardens in the sky, softening the façade as well as providing shade at the upper levels.”