What is the plan of Mount Scopus College for the Caulfield Hospital site?
Mount Scopus College is a community day school founded in the shadows of the Holocaust by the survivors arriving after World War 2. It has grown to be one of the largest Jewish community day schools in the world. It regularly ranks amongst the highest academic achieving schools in the State. Its graduates include Josh Frydenberg (former Federal Treasurer), Alan Finkel AO (former Chief Scientist of Australia), Professor Sharon Lewin AO, Josh Burns MP and Peter Alexander. Since its establishment in 1949, the College has opened its doors to families irrespective of their financial capacity to pay fees. The College has expressed a desire to consolidate its 3 campuses (currently in Burwood, East St Kilda and South Caulfield) onto the Caulfield Hospital site. This will result in significant savings for the families of students and a marked lessening of the environmental impact caused by having buses transport 1,000 students from the Caulfield area to and from Burwood each day. The site is in the heart of the Jewish community; 95% of Scopus families live within 3 kms of the site.
The newly constructed school will form part of a broader community centre which will contain state of the art sporting, cultural, educational, recreational and other facilities for use by the entire community but with particular benefit to residents of the City of Glen Eira. The development will be carried out in accordance with sustainable environmental principles.
Our vision for the site is for it to be a true home for the community to share and use.
Mount Scopus is one of the most expensive schools in the State, why should the land be used for a private school?
As a large Jewish school Mount Scopus has significant security costs which non-Jewish schools do not incur. These costs are substantial and ultimately passed on to our parent body through school fees. In addition, Mount Scopus has an extensive bursary program that supports 25% of our families at a cost of approximately $3m a year.
In addition, the Mount Scopus proposal envisages that the site won’t be used exclusively for a private school. The community facilities, sports grounds, performing and cultural arts, parkland and cafes will all be available to the broader community. A very large part of the site will be greenspace.
Why should a private school have access to government land?
The potential use by Mount Scopus of the Caulfield site will provide enormous benefit to the Glen Eira community and its residents. The current usage by Alfred Health of the site is inefficient, costly and a huge waste of valuable land.
In 2015, the State Government agreed to the use of part of the land by a private for profit aged care operator. Similarly, Mount Scopus would seek to have access to the site on commercial terms which will be subject to appropriate oversight. Mount Scopus has not asked for any government funding to support the project and expects all commercial terms to be at arm’s length through a proper government process.
Ultimately the access by Mount Scopus will lead to a regeneration of the site.
How does Scopus being on the site benefit the local community?
The presence of Mount Scopus on the site will lead to the development of facilities for use by the entire Glen Eira community. Facilities to be built include a 1,200 seat performing arts centre, sporting facilities including football and soccer fields, multi-purpose courts, an indoor swimming pool, wellness centre, adult education, communal co-working spaces, recreational and open space areas. The extensive green space proposed for the site would be accessible to the entire community.
Mount Scopus has also expressed a willingness to share the site with a newly built Caulfield Hospital although ultimately decisions around the future of the Caulfield Hospital are matters for the State Government.
What is the future of the Burwood Campus currently occupied by Mount Scopus?
Given the significant community interest in the existing Mount Scopus Burwood campus it is likely that any transaction would result in the State Government owning the land currently occupied on Burwood Highway and known as the Gandel campus. The future use of that site will be a matter for the State Government.
Will taxpayer money be used to fund any of these plans?
The development of the site is not contingent upon government funding and will be funded by the College.
How will the local community have a voice in relation to the future of the site?
Over 150 organisations have been approached about the project initially, inviting them to contribute to the vision as the site plans develop. We have also consulted with local, state and federal government bodies in order to enable us to understand current and projected areas of need, in relation to sporting and cultural areas.
Our consultation will continue and we will provide an opportunity for local residents to help us create a world class centre with accessible facilities.
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