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Fitzroy High soon to open new campus

A rendering of how the campus will look. Photo courtesy of the Victorian School Building Authority.

The neighbourhood’s new high school, ‘Wurun Senior Campus’, which will accommodate students from both Fitzroy High and Collingwood College, is slowly rising from the old gasworks site on Queens Parade.

The campus will have capacity for 650 students and will predominantly cater for Year 11 and 12 students. Year 10 students from both schools studying VCE, VET or VCAL subjects will also attend the Wurun Senior Campus. Its principle will be Chris Millard, officially known as the ‘assistant principal’ to Collingwood College principal Sam Luck and Fitzroy High principal Linda Mitchell.

The campus will be one of 100 new schools the Victorian government has committed to opening between 2019 and 2026. The Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) says Wurun Senior Campus will “focus on building 21st century skills”.

Wurun means ‘river white gum’ and the campus is on the traditional land of the Wurundjeri Woi wurrung people. The name was approved by the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation. The VSBA says the campus will feature an “embedded Indigenous narrative” that includes native plantings with Woi wurrung language naming at the courtyard entry; a 25-metre concourse mural depicting a linear narrative of the Wurundjeri Woi wurrung people's history and culture and a “colour palette informed by the manna gum”.

The six-storey building is characterised by plenty of glass and stepped terraces and balconies which will eventually include native plants. The campus will also boast a performing arts precinct with an amphitheatre, a technology design lab and basketball courts.

The VSBA says the campus will offer a ‘futures-thinking’ curriculum that will allow students to prepare for jobs that don’t yet exist.

But the campus, too, doesn’t yet exist in full and will need to be completed before it is scheduled to take students some time in 2022.

The gasworks were first erected in 1861, and the Wurun campus is part of the state government’s plans to rejuvenate the space, which – up until the construction of the school began in 2018 – could have accurately been described as a postindustrial wasteland.

The state government plans on transforming the site into an “urban village” that includes the school campus, “new housing, and open space”.

Their plan proposes that the 3.9 hectare area will hold 1200 new apartments, 20% of which will be affordable housing. The buildings will “reflect the local character”, and the site design will “establish a central community heart linking together diverse public spaces with places to play".

The construction of the new campus is the first step in this ambitious plan to transform the urban environment.

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