New Toowong Primary School Location Confirmed

After more than a year of community consultations and site investigations, Perrin Park in Toowong has now been confirmed as the location of Brisbane’s newest primary school.

Read: Perrin Park in Toowong Emerges as Preferred Site for New Primary School

Results of the community consultation process previously indicated that the Perrin Park site, very near the old Toowong Bowls Club, is the local community’s preferred site.

The new school is estimated to cost $90 million and will create around 200 jobs during construction. Expected to provide world-class education facility, the new school will accommodate Prep to Year 6 students.

It will be the first primary school to open in Brisbane’s inner western suburbs in more than 60 years and will be built to ease enrolment pressures off Indooroopilly, Ironside, and Toowong state schools.

Perrin Park
Photo Credit: EducationDepartmentQLD

The school is part of a $1.2-billion state government initiative which aims to deliver 14 new schools over the next three years. 

“The former Toowong Bowls Club site is a great location for an innovative vertical school design that integrates indoor and outdoor spaces, maximising available land to provide capacity for up to 900 students when Stage 1 and 2 are delivered,” said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

“Building upward instead of outward, helps to alleviate the need for large school sites while complementing the surrounding urban environment.,” the Premier added.

Inner West Brisbane map
Inner west map (Photo credit: Department of Education/Queensland Government)

Local Concerns

Some residents have raised concerns over the ecological impact around Perrin Park which has an active flying fox colony. The Department of Education will work with the Commonwealth government to ensure the delivery of the new school does not impact the health of the colony.

After the planning, acquisition, and approval process which is currently in progress, the Education Department will proceed with the final design for the school.

Read: Perrin Park Site Unsuitable for New Primary School, Residents Say

Based on the projected timeline, the new school will open for Term 1 in January 2024. With its opening, it is expected to ease student overpopulation in Indooroopilly State School and Ironside State School.

Perrin Park in Toowong Emerges as Preferred Site for New Primary School

A site in Perrin Park, near the old Toowong Bowls Club, looks to be the preferred location for a new primary school in Brisbane’s west. 

Following the second round of consultations in June 2021, data from the survey revealed that residents have opted for the site, specifically located on Gailey Road, instead of the initially proposed area next to the Indooroopilly State High School.

“Based on the feedback received, the Perrin Park Precinct appears to be the preferred site compared to the ISHS site, but further considerations are required,” the Department of Education updated as the site selection process will conclude by the end of 2021.

“Following site selection, there will be further opportunities for the local community to provide feedback on the project.”

Photo Credit: Education Department

Greens MP for Maiwar Michael Berkman presented the results of the month-long survey between Perrin Park and ISHS. 

“The general finding that the Toowong Bowls Club site has more support is consistent with the balance of feedback I’ve been hearing for the last six months,” he said.

“While neither site is perfect, there is slightly more support for a new primary school there than at ISHS. My position has been that the State Government would need to provide a land swap to offset the loss of the community facilities at Toowong Bowls Club.” 

Photo Credit: Greens MP for Maiwar Michael Berkman
Photo Credit: Greens MP for Maiwar Michael Berkman

However, some residents have raised concerns over the ecological impact around Perrin Park which has an active flying fox colony. Others also voiced their worries over the site’s flooding issues.

The State Government will have to discuss the land’s use as a school facility with Brisbane City Council, which owns the site. Acquiring private land has not been considered.

Brisbane’s new primary school in the west is slated to open in 2024 to ease the student overpopulation in Indooroopilly State School and Ironside.

Perrin Park Site Unsuitable for New Primary School, Residents Say

The existence of a bat colony and a sewage pump station will make Perrin Park in Toowong an unsuitable location for the planned new primary school in west Brisbane, according to residents in the area.

Locals have expressed their concerns for the site, which is one of only two choices that the Education Department has laid out in the second round of community consultations for the new west Brisbane primary school in 60 years. 

Aside from the bat colony and the occasional sewage smell, Ross Anderson, the president of Toowong Harriers Athletics Club, voiced out his concerns over the potential loss of green space for the community. 

The Harriers have been leasing Perrin Park from Council for sports activities for the last 40 years. Community groups, sports clubs and school clubs hire the park from them regularly for practices and events, and their bookings have been filled up until September 2021, which means that the park is quite an active space. 

The land, however, has been capped and resurfaced with clay, which requires regular maintenance and would be destroyed if used as a school playground. Mr Anderson also said that Perrin Park is in a flood zone, which means it’s a high-risk site for a school unless a solid flood mitigation plan is in place. 

According to Michael Berkman, Greens MP for Maiwar, the proposed new primary school will stand on Gailey Road next to the old Toowong Bowls Club and a community meeting place. There is an SES Depot on the site as well that the Council uses for “operational” purposes. 

Photo Credit: Michael Berkman, Greens MP for Maiwar/Facebook

If the State Government decides on this location, instead of Indooroopilly State High School (ISHS), the SES Depot will be moved to another site, freeing up 6,000 square meters of land. Combined with the empty Toowong Bowls Club, the site will have about 16,000 square meters for the new school.

“[It will] be large enough for our new primary school, with play space included, and potentially even enough land to consider a swimming pool or other facilities that could be open to the wider public,” Mr Berman said

Councillor James Mackay said that Council does not want the community to lose its green space or even the old Toowong Bowls Club, which is supposed to be leased for community use. However, west Brisbane badly needs a new primary school that could accommodate 900 students. There are also implications that the State Government may consider negotiating a land swap with the Council if the Toowong site is chosen. 

Mr Berkmans acknowledged that there’s no ideal option for the new school’s location as both Perrin Park and ISHS have issues. However, this is an urgent demand that the community has to decide on before the target opening date of the new school in 2024. 

Public consultations are still ongoing until 30 June 2021. Locals are enjoined to fill out the survey form or email for their feedback and suggestions.