Closure reprieve for art school

Premier Colin Barnett.
Premier Colin Barnett.

‘The new term starts on August 4, finishing at the end of September, but where go after that term is up in the air,’ school co-ordinator Joanne Dye said.

The Department of Education initially said the school had until July 18 to move its part-time, after-hours arts classes for up to 250 adults from purpose-built classes at Freshwater Bay Primary School where space was needed for more children.Ms Dye said despite the deadline, an interim location had not been found, and work on a long-term solution to take the school to Sunset needed funding and time.

Mr Barnett discussed with mayors creating an arts organisation across the western suburbs at Parliament House on June 25.

‘I also raised the prospect of Sunset, or a part of Sunset, being a possible location for such an organisation, but it is still very early days yet,’ Mr Barnett said. Last year, he announced $275,000 to upgrade the 8.5ha disused hospital, left idle on Jutland Parade since 1995, for cultural, recreational community activities.

Claremont Mayor Jock Barker said he supported moving the school to the hospital, which could be one of several arts organisations that could use the site, but creating a centre would take ‘at least’ until after the next State Budget.

‘And no council can give its commitment to the idea until Mr Barnett writes to us seeking our support,’ Mr Barker said.

Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins said that while moving the art school had his in-principle support, his council had reservations about the site after it calculated the cost of its renovation and on-going maintenance.

‘We’d be looking for the (arts centre) project to be handed over, ready to use, and fitted out internally and internally. To which Mr Barnett said Lotteries West could help,’ he said.

He added that public access to the hospital had recently increased in difficulty after the bus route in Jutland Parade was changed from an hourly to a two-hourly service.