College eyes hospital land

Shenton College board chairman Roger Castle and students outside the former Royal Perth Rehabilitation Hospital. Picture Marcus Whisson d427969
Shenton College board chairman Roger Castle and students outside the former Royal Perth Rehabilitation Hospital. Picture Marcus Whisson d427969

Shenton College board chairman Roger Castle said ‘a small portion’ of the now-vacant Royal Perth Rehabilitation Hospital (RPRH) land on Lemnos Street would be the ideal location to build a multi-purpose auditorium. 

Patients at the neighbouring hospital campus were transferred to the State Rehabilitation Centre at the Fiona Stanley Hospital precinct this month, freeing up 15.8h of State Government-owned land.

Mr Castle says the school is hoping to build a 500-seat multi-purpose auditorium on adjacent Royal Perth Rehabilitation Hospital (RPRH) land.

‘The College is definitely under pressure with increasing student numbers and limited physical space,’ he said.

‘It was originally designed for 1200 students, but we are actually looking at about 1900 students in 2015.

‘Right now, there is no proper facility that can seat a full-year cohort. We are planning for an auditorium that would not only serve the school but offer a shared facility for the wider community.’

LandCorp recently approached Shenton College and other interested organisations such as Autism WA and the cities of Subiaco and Nedlands to join its RPRH community consultation committee.

‘Our discussions with LandCorp are primarily about putting our name on a piece of land for later down the track,’ Mr Castle said.

‘Although nothing is due to happen on this site for a few years, we are building a slow and steady case to plan for the future.

‘We have been speaking with local members and Premier Colin Barnett for a long time about our need for an auditorium. If we get this land, we envisage funding would be a joint venture between what we could raise and what the State Government could chip in.’

Last month, Mr Barnett identified the RPRH Shenton Park campus as one of 20 State-owned sites to be sold to the private sector.

An Education Department spokeswoman said the department was aware that Shenton College had shown interest in the RPRH site but its current focus was on managing student population growth in the western suburbs.

Associate principal Chris Hill said the school’s Friends of Music parent group had been campaigning for a new auditorium for several years.

‘Gone are the days when the school gymnasium was sufficient ” all schools now need an auditorium so their community can come together as an audience,’ he said.

‘With well over 300 Year 7 students coming in 2015, the arts arena is literally too small to house them safely. Our induction day last week saw more than 600 parents come together, and we had to use the gymnasium. It did the job, but we really need to progress planning for a new auditorium.’

A LandCorp spokesman said Shenton College was participating in its extensive community-wide consultation process to determine key government objectives and future potential of the site.