Growing pains for school
ROW OVER VACANT GOVERNMENT LAND
BEECHBORO Christian School in Bennett Springs is fast approaching capacity and seeking new premises to accommodate unprecedented enrolments.
The school wanted to buy vacant government land 200 metres down the road to build a bigger school and the Swan Christian Education Association sought to make an offer on the land.
But the Education Department has refused to consider selling the vacant land, despite having no current plans to build a school on the site, at the corner of Bennett Springs Drive and Crystal Turn.
The department’s infrastructure director John Fischer said the State Government bought the land in 2002, but had not built a school due to “slow residential growth in the area”.
“However, if development does occur in the future as expected, the land needs to continue to be set aside as building a school may be required,” he said.
Student numbers at Beechboro Christian School have increased from 170 to 256 in the past 12 months.
The school currently leases land from the Cracovia Club, but can only accommodate 350 students.
Principal Steven Coote said the school was willing to pay market value for the government land and build a school that the community had been waiting years to get.
“The challenge for us is to grow at a rate we can sustain, but also to grow at a rate that meets the needs of the community and people in new developments as they arise,” he said.
“All we want to do is have a conversation to say there’s a possibility to es- tablish a quality school in an area that’s zoned for education.”
West Swan MLA Rita Saffioti compiled community feedback about the proposal for Beechboro Christian School to buy the land, and said residents were overwhelmingly in favour of the idea.
“Given there are no plans to build a new public school on the site, the next best option is for the Government to allow Swan Christian Education Association to purchase the land to relocate the BCC,” she said.
“The site has been neglected for too long and should be put to use for the local community.”
The State Government recently discarded plans for a primary school in south Caversham in favour of Byford.