South Melbourne Primary School set to open for Term 1

South Melbourne Primary School set to open for Term 1
South Melbourne Primary School set to open for Term 1

Victoria's first public Vertical School in South Melbourne is set to open with the first term set to start in a few short weeks.

Deputy Premier & Minister for Education James Merlino joined new South Melbourne Primary School principal Noel Creece and lead architect Richard Leonard from Hayball for a tour of the site during the final fit-out stages earlier this week.

The school, located at 129 Ferrars Street in South Melbourne, was allocated $44 million for its construction in the 2016-2017 State Budget and has steadily carved out its own corner in Melbourne's skyline.

The school has capacity for upwards of 500 students.

The primary school's designated neighbourhood boundary for enrolments includes the entirety of the suburbs of Docklands, Southbank and the majority of South Melbourne.

South Melbourne Primary School set to open for Term 1
Source: School Buildings Authority

Builders, ADCO Construction, entered the site just before Christmas in 2016 and have turned the site around in just over 12 months.  

We’re absolutely thrilled to see our design for South Melbourne Primary School come to fruition in less than two years.

What’s more, we’re delighted to hear that enrolments for preps are at capacity, highlighting the need for such a facility in the area and that this new integrated model of school is supported enthusiastically by the community

“Many people may have had a preconception that a vertical primary school would simply resemble an office building  – but as you can see South Melbourne Primary School is far from it.

This school represents the very best in contemporary education design and focusses on the needs of 21st century students and their wider community. There’s a number of innovative, creative spaces that allow for active learning that take advantage of the building’s height.

For instance, there are a wide variety of integrated teaching and learning areas and with annexed outdoor spaces at every level providing students with seamless indoor/outdoor learning opportunities.  

Likewise, there’s a climbing play structure called the Treehouse which allows vertical connection between the outdoor learning areas on level 2 and 3, promoting exercise and physical skills.

There’s also seating steps and a perforated timber balustrade where classes can gather as a group for presentations, or students can read on their own when it’s not in use. These features emphasise how vertical schools can still provide a fun learning environment for students and encourage active play.”

Richard Leonard, lead architect on South Melbourne Primary School

The first phase of the new Richmond High School will join South Melbourne Primary School in opening its doors for day one of 2018's term one. 

Richmond High School will start with a Year 7 enrolment at first and for 2018 will have a wide designated neighbourhood boundary in 2018 encompassing many areas south of the Yarra and in 2019 the boundary will be reduced to include only minor areas to the south of the river.

South Melbourne Primary School set to open for Term 1
Lead architect Richard Leonard from Hayball and the Deputy Premier tour the SMPS site. Image: Henry Lam, Hayball

Prahran High School - another vertical public school - according to the School Buildings Authority website is well under construction and is due to be complete by the end of the year and will start accepting enrolments in mid 2018.

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.


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