Mt Hawthorn and Inglewood primary upgrades and expansion prove divisive

Education Minister Peter Collier, Perth MLA Eleni Evangel and Mt Hawthorn Primary School students.
Education Minister Peter Collier, Perth MLA Eleni Evangel and Mt Hawthorn Primary School students.

MT Hawthorn and Inglewood primary schools have been promised a $3.5 million upgrade each, but not everyone is celebrating.

The State Government announced in November that Inglewood PS would receive the funding to build a double-storey expansion on the oval with six new classrooms and toilets to accommodate an extra 192 students.

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Parents raised concern about the location, fearing reducing play space would be detrimental to the students and have launched a petition against it, which has attracted about 300 signatures.

Tony Didio, who lives across from the school where his daughters attended, said the State Government had not thought it through.

“I am not against education, but where the expansion is proposed for,” he said.

“We have not been heard and the Department (of Education) is not engaging with us on this.”

Education Minister Peter Collier last week announced a similar expansion for 110-year-old Mt Hawthorn PS, with planning to commence in early 2017 for seven classrooms, which will replace two existing classrooms.

“Two old pre-primary classrooms on the western boundary will be demolished to make way for the new building, which will have a modern design and the latest technology,” he said.

Mr Didio said it was not fair and the government should have looked at the same option for Inglewood.

Mr Collier said he was aware some parents were concerned about the location of the new Inglewood classrooms.

“There will be the removal of some recreational facility, but there’s still more than enough there,’ he said.

“The department works with the local community. Ultimately, when you build on an oval, it’s going to create a degree of anxiety and I appreciate that, I take it on the chin.”

Perth MLA Eleni Evangel said the funding was an “important step forward” for Mt Hawthorn PS.