Exclusive: School Sold Off Amid Avalanche Of Enrolments
The 60-year-old building will be knocked down and rezoned into apartment blocks.
What you need to know
- A school is being sold regardless of a flood on enrolments in the area
- The school's site will be transformed into apartments and shops
- A community consultation will be held to discuss the matter
An old school site in Western Sydney is set to be sold despite a growth in NSW school enrolments.
Macquarie Boys High School in Rydalmere has been closed for a decade and has been left to rot, becoming a vandal's playground. Now, the 60-year-old building will be demolished and the site sold to make way for a housing development.
The government wants the area rezoned for 2,500 homes, shops and a green community space.
But curiously, it doesn't include plans for a school.
"It seems pretty ridiculous to me that when facing this avalanche of new people coming through that we're selling off a school," Parramatta Mayor Andrew Wilson told Ten Eyewitness News.
The school grounds are part of a 19 hectare block of land, which Property NSW has been working to transform into a housing development to capitalise on the new light rail through the area, but it is contingent on the area being rezoned.
While the government says new housing options will give more opportunities to people in the west, Labor Member for Lakemba Jihad Dib was critical of the decision to neglect repurposing the school.
"This is a government that's obsessed with sell offs and more often than not any government land they sell off ends up in developer's hands," Dib said.
There are growing calls for a school to be part of the development that will replace the Macquarie Boys High School, including from within the government.
"We're keeping up with demand at the moment but in 10 years' time or 20 years' time a new primary school should be located on that site," Member for Parramatta Geoff Lee told Ten Eyewitness News.
But Lee says it's hypocritical of the opposition to criticise the government given it was the former Labor government that initially closed the school.
NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes defended the government's spend on schools in the area.
"We're spending $1.5 billion on 67 projects, either new schools or significant expansions of existing schools in western Sydney," he said.
A community consultation will be held in the coming months, where people will be able to voice their concerns about the need for education facilities in the area.
This exclusive report aired on Ten Eyewitness News.
Reporting by Catalina Florez.