Decision soon on school site

THE Brighton community is eagerly awaiting the State Government’s decision on the location for the new Brighton High School, promised to be announced this month.

The $30-million high school development, to cater for students from years seven to 12, was an election commitment of the State Government and $3 million was set aside in the current budget for preliminary planning, investigation and consultation.

While the high school’s location is the responsibility of the State Government, Brighton Council has been engaging with the Education Department and Minister Rockliff to ensure Brighton municipality gets the best outcome for the community.

The Council retained experienced consultants, Inspiring Place, to undertake a comprehensive evaluation of possible sites and the results were presented to a well-attended community meeting last year, as well as to the Government.

After a rigorous examination of the options against a broad suite of criteria, the consultants recommended that the best and most appropriate location for the new high school was on land adjacent to the existing primary school and the school farm. In reaching this conclusion, Inspiring Place considered three key parameters: environmental and social values, teaching and learning values, and community building values.

The consultants even produced preliminary drawings demonstrating how the available land could be utilised without compromising either the primary school or school farm.

Brighton Mayor Tony Foster said Council has reaffirmed that this was the right location for the new high school.

“At our meeting in April and after considering all the information and possible options, Council strongly confirmed that this is the preferred and best possible site for the high school and we have relayed this decision to the State Government,” Cr Foster said.

“Such a central location would become a real focus of the Brighton township and add significantly to the vibrancy of the main street.

“It would be convenient for students and make any traffic issues easily manageable.”

Cr Foster said, undoubtedly, the town centre site in close proximity to the primary school was the best location for a high school.

“It will maximise the number of residences within walking or cycling distance of the school, so minimising traffic issues. It will stimulate the strategic growth of the town, creating a real town centre and assist local business and commercial activity.

“In Council’s strong view, it is an appropriate use on the available land, as opposed to options that create land use conflict and environmental management issues.

“Brighton Council is a strong believer that improving educational outcomes plays a major role in enhancing social and community outcomes in the municipality and the new high school will certainly do this.

“There is no doubt that the absence of a high school has constrained growth and discouraged young families from moving to Brighton. Despite this, Brighton is one of the fastest growing areas in Tasmania, and with almost 700 students from the Brighton and Southern Midlands areas, Brighton Primary School is one of the largest primary schools in the State.

“Currently, the majority of these graduating students go on to high school in Glenorchy and Hobart city, and a high school Brighton will eliminate the barrier of extensive travel for many families,” Cr Foster said.

“We now await the State Government’s announcement of the site this month and for the detailed planning work to begin.”