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First look at new school

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Toowoomba Catholic Schools (TCS) has released the plans for its new school, St Francis Catholic College at Westbrook, and there’s an opportunity for locals to have a say on the project.

This process includes community consultation and feedback as a part of Toowoomba Catholic Schools’ Ministerial Infrastructure Designation (MID) application.

St Francis Catholic College is planned to be a kindergarten to year 12 college situated on the corner of Shoesmith Road and Boundary Street South, with vehicle access, maintained via a new road, Clare Drive, located off Shoesmith Road.

Clare Drive is not to be confused with the existing Belclaire Drive, located a short distance away.

Covering nearly 10 hectares of land, TCS plans for the college to include educational, cultural and sporting facilities and to become a hub for community use outside of school hours.

Dr Pat Coughlan, Executive Director: Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Toowoomba has high hopes for the school’s positive impact on the Westbrook community.

“We are pleased to be moving forward with our plans to build St Francis Catholic College,” Dr Coughlan said.

Dr Coughlan said through the Ministerial Infrastructure Designation (MID) application process, Toowoomba Catholic Schools is currently seeking community feedback.

“Our MID application contains details of the proposed College and is available on the website of the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning,” he said.

“We also have all the details on the Toowoomba Catholic Schools website.

“We are keen to hear from the community, so encourage people to get in touch.

“This is an exciting step in the journey as we believe St Francis will be the contemporary education, the sporting and cultural hub the Westbrook community has been asking for.” In the Architectural Masterplan submitted as part of the MID application, it is stated that a public bus stop is proposed on Shoesmith Road, while the pedestrian network is yet to be confirmed.

All parking areas and drop-off zones will be provided on-site along with set down areas for school buses.

The school is expected to open in 2026 following Stage 1 of development.

The Stage 5 ultimate layout is expected to be complete by 2035.

Initial enrolments in 2026 are planned to total 389, which includes 22 in kindergarten, 175 in prep to year 4 and 192 in years 7 and 8.

By 2035, the end of stage 5, enrolments are planned to be 1,467, including 22 in kindergarten, 545 in prep to year 6 and 900 in years 7 to 12.

Staff numbers will start at 30 in 2026, rising to 101 by 2035.

As part of changes that needed to be made to the nearby road network to accommodate the school, discussions have been had with Toowoomba Regional Council regarding the junction of Shoesmith Road and Boundary Street South.

It is said in the MID application that Council has advised that it will upgrade the junction to a 120-metre curve with channelised turning provision, removing the near-right angle currently in place.

There is no strict timeline provided as to when this upgrade will be made.

The MID application makes several references to the 1,500-lot Fernleigh Estate, which if built would be on the school’s doorstep to the east.

Hallmark Property announced an indefinite delay on the development of Fernleigh due to the Council only giving partial approval and thus the development of Fernleigh was not calculated into the plans of St Francis College.

To view the MID application and make a submission, visit planning.dsdmip.qld.gov.au/infrastructure-designation/database and select requests open for consultation.

Submission can also be made via email to infrastructuredesignation@dsdilgp.qld.gov.au or via post to PO Box 15009, City East, QLD, 4002.

On Our Selection News 2 March 2023

This article appeared in On Our Selection News, 2 March 2023.

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