Major Expansion Planned for Western Suburbs State Special School in Durack

Plans have been unveiled for the expansion of the Western Suburbs State Special School in Durack to cater to an additional 60 students. 

The seven-phase project (MID-1123-0745) highlights the construction of new facilities, classrooms, elevators, and parking spaces.  

Despite being designed for only 186 students, Western Suburbs State Special School (WSSS), one of Brisbane’s leading special schools, currently serves 193 students ranging from Prep to Year 12. 

Projections indicate that the school, which does not limit enrolments based on catchment areas, could see its student population reach 209 in the next three years. 

The proposed expansion aims to provide space for up to 252 students and allow for an increase in staff from the current 90 to 114. The development’s primary goal is to address functionality challenges in the school’s senior student cohort, specifically in buildings within the F Block area, which were originally introduced to the site when state special schools did not need to cater to students with physical impairments.

Western Suburbs State Special School
Photo Credit: MID-1123-0745

Stage 1 of the expansion involves the construction of a new building, block R, with 14 classrooms and administration facilities. It also includes the development of a 68-space carpark, a 20-space carpark near the administration building, lifts, ramps, demolition of block F, and the establishment of a new bus drop-off/pick-up zone. 

Stage 2 focuses on renovating block A to create two new classrooms and redeveloping block E into a new library. The subsequent stages include the construction of a new hall with therapy areas, improved accessibility features such as stairs, ramps, and lifts, relocation of existing greenhouses and horticultural sheds, demolition of block F, refurbishment of block A to accommodate two new classes and a new library, and the creation of outdoor learning spaces and play areas. Blocks G, J, K, and L will be demolished, while blocks B and C will undergo renovation or reconstruction.

Western Suburbs State Special School
Photo Credit: MID-1123-0745

This expansion comes amid discussions following the Disability Royal Commission’s recommendation last October 2023 for a 30-year phase-out of special education and a halt on new special school developments from 2025. The recommendation, which aims to integrate students with disabilities into mainstream schools, has raised concerns among Queensland’s educational sectors. The State Government is currently reviewing this proposal.

The project is now subject to public review, with submissions accepted until 16 February 2024. Look for MID-1123-0745 on the planning site.

Feedback can also be sent via email to or mailed to PO Box 15009, City East, QLD, 4002. 

Published 31-Jan-2024

State Schools in Durack, Jamboree Heights Scramble to Repair Storm Damage Ahead of School Opening Day

Durack State School and Jamboree Heights State School are among nearly 100 Queensland state schools that have been damaged in Queensland’s dual disasters recently, with authorities now racing to repair facilities in time for the first day of school.

With the new school term scheduled to begin on 22 Jan 2024, repair works are ongoing to ensure that every school is ready for the return of students.

Durack State School and Jamboree Heights State School were among the casualties as roofs were ripped off and trees crashed into classrooms. Helensvale State School was hit particularly hard, with a tree causing substantial damage.

In some cases where classrooms and facilities are out of commission, demountable classrooms will be brought in as temporary solutions.

Jamboree Heights State School
Photo Credit: Google Maps

The scope of the repairs varies, from simple flood clean-ups to long-term rebuilding efforts on sections of buildings.

One school in Far North Queensland is experiencing a particularly tight race against the clock to complete repairs.

While the cost of repairing the schools remains unknown, the state government has assured that no state school will suffer financially due to the storm damage.

Education officials confirmed that a total of 96 state schools had been damaged. About 35 schools were affected in South East Queensland, while the Far North bore the brunt with 61 schools in need of repairs. 

Although acknowledging the extent of the damage, Helensvale State School Principal James Forrest expressed gratitude that the situation was not worse, considering the fallen trees scattered throughout the school grounds. Despite the challenges, the damaged building at Helensvale State School is expected to be unavailable for approximately the first three weeks of the school year. 

Published 10-Jan-2024