$204M school to be built at Charmhaven

The site for a new school at Charmhaven

A new school at Charmhaven is being planned by St Philip’s Christian College Education Foundation.

St Philip’s bought the 40ha parcel of land between Arizona Rd and the Pacific Hwy in 2020 and hopes to open the school in 2024.

It is proposed to start as a kindergarten to Year 6 school for 500 students and growing to cater up to Year 12 with more than 1,500 students.

St Philip’s Christian College is an independent organisation that oversees a group of schools and early learning centres across the Hunter and Central Coast regions, providing education to over 4,300 young people from pre-kindergarten to Year 12.

This new campus would ultimately comprise an early learning centre, junior, middle and senior schools, Dynanmic Alternative Learning Environment (DALE) Special School, various outdoor and indoor sports facilities, a chapel, an 800-seat performing arts centre with an adjoining 100 plus seat “blackbox” theatre.

The DALE school will be for students in Years 3 to 12 who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder, or a mild intellectual disability.

St Philip’s also intends to establish a vocational education hub embedded in the light industrial area to be developed on the part of the site fronting the Pacific Hwy.

This facility would help deliver the school’s HSC SmartTrack program, which offers a practical alternative approach to Years 11 and 12, allowing students to complete the Higher School Certificate (non ATAR) in an independent adult learning environment.

A report submitted with the proposal said the school development would have an “extremely positive social impact in the North Wyong sub-region by providing high quality, low cost, independent education to service a rapidly growing population”.

Estimated capital investment value for the entire school is $204.5M, and on completion, the school is expected to support 125 full time equivalent jobs.

The proposal is being dealt with by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment as a State Significant Development and St Philip’s has submitted a request for Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs).

The SEARs set out information that must be addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Once received, the EIS will go on public exhibition for community feedback and a detailed assessment will be undertaken by the Department before a final decision is made.

Also, Heritage Now, is seeking expressions of interest from Aboriginal people who hold cultural knowledge relevant to the Charmhaven area in order to assist with an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment.

The project site falls within boundaries of the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council.

Sue Murray