The NSW government has finally submitted its business case for the Newcastle Education Campus with space allocated for a new primary school.
The government says masterplanning for the controversial campus, which will be located on the main Newcastle High School site, is now complete.
The masterplan is not yet publicly available but will include upgrades to the existing high school and expanded facilities suitable for shared use with the community.
Space has been allocated for a future new primary school but it will be "subject to enrolment demand".
The government says the preferred option in the business case includes new flexible learning spaces to support future student enrolment growth, a new hall and library, new science laboratories, kitchens, canteen and student facilities and new support class facilities.
"Students are at the centre of the decision-making process regarding Newcastle Education Campus. It's clear the upgraded school will provide wonderful facilities that will benefit the local community now and for years to come," Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said.
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The last state budget allocated $5.6 million to "progress work on schematic design and statutory planning approvals" - a slice of the estimated $50 to $80 million the government has said the project will cost.
Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp has been critical of the delays to the project, which was announced in June 2018 as the originally titled Newcastle Education Precinct, and raised the issue on several occasions in budget estimate questions.
He said in September that the "business case has had more deadlines than I've had hot dinners", a comment he repeated to The Herald on Wednesday.
"The business case was first due 18 months ago and was pushed back and pushed back," he said.
"Let's see the masterplan - which the government has committed to showing us when the business case is released.
"We have been hearing about this for nearly four years now, we cannot wait another four years for this to be built, we just need to get on with it."
He is also confident there will be enough enrolment demand to justify a new primary school, an aspect of the proposal which has been uncertain over the years.
"It's good that there is actually space for a primary school as we will need it moving forward," Mr Crakanthorp said.
"There will be thousands of new apartments in the Newcastle CBD.
"We will definitely see a huge increase in enrolments."
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Taylor Martin said that the campus would be an asset to the Newcastle community.
"This is going to be a great project for the city that will provide high-quality education facilities for students and teachers," Mr Martin said.
Ms Mitchell said procurement of key consultants for the project, including architects, building engineers, planners and heritage consultants was currently underway.
The government is also in the process of reviewing student demand forecasts to "ensure the new precinct is fit for both current and future needs" and considering a number of joint-use opportunities to provide expanded community facilities within the area.
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