FREMANTLE council has approved a new arts hub for CBC Fremantle despite staff concerns about its height.
The proposed four-storey building fronting High Street will house “a number of adaptable learning spaces” including “breakout areas
for smaller group work”, a basement level carpark with spaces for bicycles, and an “auditorium/performance space with stage and backstage areas”.
The development is part of the college’s master plan to give the school a “home” for its arts program says principal Domenic Burgio.
Currently the school’s arts department is dispersed across the campus and performances have to be in a converted classroom.
The proposed auditorium will not only be a proper performance space but act as a “suitable forum” to meet staff and parents, in addition to being “used by teaching staff whenever necessary to deliver lecture type lessons and gradually prepare students for adult-style learning”.
The arts represent one of the four pillars of the school says Mr Burgio.
He hopes the new facilities will encourage and highlight the art programme to the community.
“CBC Fremantle has had a vibrant arts presence at the college and in the community for many years,” Mr Burgio said.
“We believe the arts is an important component of education and our bands are a feature of local clubs, schools fetes, the Fremantle Festival of Lights, Ellington Jazz Club etc.
“There are annual visual arts exhibitions and festivals and drama productions that play out to packed houses. This year’s production of The Witches received glowing acclaim from the Catholic Performing Arts Festival judges.”
In anticipation of the project the school has appointed a music director and will soon advertise for a Head of the Arts.
While enrolments for the next few years are at capacity, and the facilities aren’t intended to result in an increase in students, the possibility of the new facilities attracting addition students is “a problem we are happy to deal with” says Mr Burgio.
The plan has been through a few iterations after originally being deferred by council’s planning committee over staff concerns about the size of the building and its impact on the surrounding area, including historic Dalkeith House.
by LACHIE ALLEN