New chapel takes shape

St James, the newest of the Anglican Schools Commission�s (ASC) 14 schools, welcomed about 150 foundation students from kindergarten to Year 6 to its beachside campus in February.

Enrolments increased to 180 by the start of term 2, and numbers are expected to grow to 1100 students from kindergarten to Year 12 by 2021.

The much-anticipated Chapel of St James will seat 250 people and serve as school chapel and the parish church for the suburbs around Alkimos and Yanchep.

It will include a multi-function room for classes, meetings and associated activities and a commercial kitchen.

A side chapel for smaller services, to be known as the Chapel of St Helen, will be housed inside the building.

ASC chief executive Peter Laurence said the chapel project was significant.

�This is the first time we have provided a purpose-built chapel in a school�s opening year,� he said.

�The Chapel of St James will not only be the worship centre for the students, their families and staff, but will also be home to the local parish.

�With Anglicare services being offered onsite, it will also serve as Alkimos� first welfare and parenting base. Our chapel will be truly a centre for the whole community.�

St James� Parish rector and school chaplain John Taylor helped out at St James� in the days leading up to the arrival of the first students.

At the official opening of the school earlier this month, Rev Taylor said it was special to be part of something new.

�Something that grows and takes you from where you are is a privilege,� he said. The modular tilt panel structure, designed by DWA Architects, mirrors the shape of a scallop shell, a symbol for Jesus� disciple James whom the school is named after.

The building, located at Alkimos Beach Estate�s entrance, is framed by canary island palms recently relocated from Riverside Drive in Perth.

Its steel frame is now in place and a large distinctive cross, visible from Marmion Avenue, was recently installed on the top.

�The church we have now used to be a farm building so I�m saying I�m going from a cow shed to a cathedral,� Rev Taylor joked.

�Whereas we were hidden before, set down behind bushes, now we�re actually where we supposed to be � on top of a hill. The cross is higher than the palm trees.�

Over the next few weeks the external brickwork and roof will be finished.