Revealed: what Sydney's new schools will look like

Redevelopment of Ultimo Public School. Image Supplied
Redevelopment of Ultimo Public School. Image Supplied

Rooftop playgrounds and basketball courts, expandable classrooms as well as sports areas and covered spaces that will be shared with the community.

The design for the redevelopment of Ultimo Public School into a sloping three-storey building provides a blueprint for the NSW Department of Education's vision for the schools of the future.

The redeveloped school will be a single storey on the side facing Jones Street and reach three storeys at the side facing Wattle Street.

It will have 30 classrooms, a library, school hall and indoor and outdoor play areas, and is being rebuilt to accommodate an extra 500 students, bringing the school's total capacity to 800 pupils.

"We found from the studies we did that almost 98 per cent of the families live in apartment buildings and children have very limited contact with natural play areas, so we've tried to maximise that in the school," the project's director and managing director of architecture firm Design Inc, Sandeep Amin, said.

"The whole model for this school is based on allowing flexibility and future-proofing. Up to three classrooms can be combined for larger groups and there is an easy flow between indoor and outdoor areas."

Mr Amin said specific areas have also been designed to meet community needs.

"Currently, the local community doesn't have access to a full-sized basketball court so there was a big focus on the community in achieving that," Mr Amin said.

"The covered outdoor learning area is much larger than what a normal school has and that can be used by the community for weekend markets or other such things. The hall can be made available to the community, too."

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes said: "I am proud of the quality design of this new school, it will be superb.

"This will fit well into this suburb's landscape and community life."

High-rise schools, "modular classroom blocks" and facilities being shared by students and the community are all part of the department's $5 billion plan to meet an expected enrolment spike of 21 per cent, or 164,000 students, in NSW schools by 2031.

The Sydney local government area has one of the highest projected enrolment increases of 66.9 per cent, with an extra 9600 students expected by 2031.

President of Ultimo Public School's P&C Saul Deane, who is an architect and represented the P&C on the project reference group, welcomed the design for the school but said the playground space will be insufficient for 800 students.

"This is a high-rise building for primary school students, it's quite unusual in that way," Mr Deane said.

"Obviously, kids are much more boisterous when they're younger and where I'm concerned is making sure kids are able to run around the whole playground."

Mr Deane said there are three different play spaces, including a flat space, a "green oasis" and a quieter, sheltered area.

However, he said the available space will not be enough once the school reaches its capacity of 800 students.

"It's going to be tight, it's much less than the standard one child per 10 square metres," Mr Deane said.

"That's why it becomes contingent on external green space and the importance of Wentworth Park comes into play."

Mr Amin said the existing school uses Wentworth Park to supplement play areas and this will continue with the redeveloped school.

The development proposal for the new school is on public exhibition and will be open for comment until the end of the month.

The new school is expected to open at the beginning of 2020.

The 350 students currently enrolled at Ultimo Public School will be moved to a "pop-up" school at Wentworth Park from next year until the end of 2019.

This story Revealed: what Sydney's new schools will look like first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.