High school to be torn down

It's the end of an era for Camden High School.

Demolition work will begin at the old Camden High School site next week.

The derelict high school buildings – which have been empty for the past 16 years – will be torn down to make way for a new retirement village.

AEH Retirement Living chief operating officer Michael Rabey said they were initially going to demolish the school buildings one at a time over a lengthy period.

“We’re now going to do it all at once over the next three months,” he said.

“Remediation work on the site will then be carried out and hopefully completed by Christmas.”

The school was built on the site of an old gas works and all materials from that operation must be cleared from the site.

“Remediation will give residents some peace of mind because the school has been a bit of a cloud over the town centre for the past decade,” Mr Rabey said.

Nearby residents and Camden Public School will be kept informed about the demolition process.

“There will be asbestos to come out of the school like any buildings of that age,” he said.

“That is why there will be no mechanical demolition right away, each building will be cleared by hand by a specialist team.

“It will take about three months assuming we have no problems with weather and the like.”

Mr Rabey said the new retirement village will hopefully be built and ready for occupation by December 2018.

He said extensive testing had been completed at the site to ensure there was no guesswork once remediation was under way.

“We wouldn’t expect to find anything different at the site to what you would normally find at a former gasworks,” Mr Rabey said.

“Everything is very well documented.”

An artist's impression of how the new retirement village will look.

An artist's impression of how the new retirement village will look.

Mr Rabey said he was glad that work was finally about to begin at the site.

“That part of Camden is in dire need of activation and rejuvenation,” he said.

“I think it will be a great outcome for residents and the Camden community once everything has been dealt with once and for all.” 

The new development, Camden Central Lifestyle Estate, will feature two buildings with 54 apartment-style homes and recreational areas.

Mr Rabey said 30 out of the 54 apartments in the first stage had been sold with more stages to be released in future.