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Adelaide Uni cool on school kids in its backyard

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Adelaide University has thrown the Weatherill Government’s vaguely-articulated plans for a new public high school on the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site into further doubt.

It has poured cold water on suggestions by Planning Minister John Rau that the proposed $85 million secondary school would not need open space or sporting facilities on-site, because of its close proximity to Botanic Gardens and the university.

The university confirmed it had received no request from the Government to use its facilities, pointing out that availability was in short supply.

Rau yesterday launched Renewal SA’s Urban Renewal Prospectus, which flagged development investment opportunities for Government land that would come on the market in the next year.

The RAH is the flagship project, offering seven hectares for mixed-use development in the heart of the city’s east end.

But confusion still surrounds the key election pledge to build a second CBD public high school on the site, with Rau now intimating such a facility would be just “one of those buildings” on a site that will house “a mix of cultural things, educational things and commercial things, and possibly some residential, depending on exactly what the proposals are”.

“It was always envisaged that the high school development wouldn’t mean we’d demolish the whole of the hospital site,” he said.

But when asked about open space for ovals and sporting facilities, he drew an analogy with nearby Cathlic school Christian Boys College, whose students use the public ovals on Bartels Road.

“(The RAH site) is immediately adjacent the Botanic Gardens and university sports facilities … so it’s not like there’s a lack of open space,” he told InDaily yesterday.

But an Adelaide University spokesman said the institution “hasn’t received an official request from the Government on the use of Uni sports grounds and facilities”.

“However, it’s worth mentioning that the sports grounds are heavily utilised by the University community, including staff, students and members of the public involved in Uni sports clubs,” the spokesman said.

He said under arrangements with the Adelaide City Council, “we do make the grounds available to other members of the community, at times when they are not being used by our sports clubs”.

“But,” he noted, “availability is limited”.

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