"> Marymede Catholic College – UPco

95-125 Cookes Road, Doreen

Client: Marymede Catholic College / Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools
Project type: Educational (ELC, secondary school)
Stakeholders: City of Whittlesea, State Government, DELWP
Value: $4 million

The project
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of the school environment for many young people – especially the amenities and experiences that a great school campus can provide. Already operating a respected secondary college campus in South Morang, our client had the foresight to acquire around 9.5 acres of land in Doreen, nestled within a flourishing residential growth area.

A new campus was designed to serve the educational needs of the area’s growing local community, comprising a secondary school and an early learning centre. These would effectively act as ‘book ends’ for Laurimar Primary School next door, providing a seamless prep-to-high school offering.

With educational sector know-how and the savvy for creating highly liveable communities in developing areas, UPco was appointed to take charge of the town planning in August 2020.

The challenge

The land was designated to fulfil a specific urban outcome: meeting the educational needs of an emerging community in the north of Melbourne. While this was great in terms of mounting a credible argument in favour of the Marymede Doreen project, the strategic framework that covered the site was created roughly 15 years ago. Given how much had changed in the area since, the planning process had an added level of complexity. UPco had to balance the original strategic objectives of the project with the physical specifics of the land and its context – including the environmental impacts of further development.

We also had to consider the rapid growth of Melbourne’s northern growth corridor. Largely being first-home buyers with primary-school aged children, the secondary school campus would have to evolve with the growing population – in both senses of the word!

The outcome

Alongside an insightful project team, we developed a Master Plan that holistically outlined the evolution of the site. This overarching plan helped us to detail a staged development of both an early learning centre and a secondary school campus. UPco submitted its proposal via a State Government-initiated planning process, which is streamlined to encourage timely delivery of non-government schools on the ground across Victoria to meet the educational needs of communities.

The result was a fast-tracked approval of the Master Plan and Stage 1 of the project. Now, the Early Learning Centre is under construction, and Stage 2 (comprising the first part of the secondary college) is well under way – bringing the community one step closer to much-needed facilities for education, sport and creativity.