1 December, 2022
JOINT STATEMENT FROM
Most Reverend Greg Bennet
Bishop of Sale
Director of Catholic Education and
Chief Executive Officer – Diocese of Sale Catholic Education Limited
Re: Our Lady of Sion Convent and former Sion Campus, Sale
The Our Lady of Sion convent building in Sale is a much-loved local landmark with historical significance for Catholics, the Catholic education community, and the broader community in Sale.
Since the formal closure of the College, many have expressed their dreams and hopes for its future.
In a 2016 address, Pope Francis spoke of the importance of those amongst us who are ‘custodians of beauty’ as they enable the healing of hearts and souls. As custodians of this heritage site, we have been very aware of the opportunity presented to us to create buildings of beauty that will enable those in our community to grow in their love of Jesus in an enriching environment.
Since the August 2021 announcement, planning and assessment of the former Sion Campus site has been ongoing. The Bishop, through his Diocesan Committee chaired by the former Member for Gippsland South and parishioner of St Mary’s Cathedral, the Honourable Mr Peter Ryan, has been exploring possible uses of the convent building. The Diocese of Sale Catholic Education Ltd (DOSCEL) has been consulting and exploring the possible relocation of St Thomas’ Catholic Primary School, Sale to the Sion Campus site and an architect has provided significant insights into how to transform this space into a contemporary environment.
We are delighted to now advise that through the work of DOSCEL and the Diocesan Committee, consideration is now focussed on the development of the whole site as a state-of-the-art education facility. We are particularly pleased about the opportunity provided to us in the convent building which includes the chapel being the centrepiece of the school.
Early conceptual design for a Preliminary Proposed Masterplan are in the process of being developed by a project architect for consideration and assessment.
While the concept is in the early design phase and subject to further development and regulatory authority approval, it provides visual insight into the opportunities to transform the site into a contemporary learning environment while preserving its rich heritage. Much work lies ahead to assess this as a concept, working with architects, engineers and planning authorities and our parish and school communities.
We are delighted to share with our community the possibilities being explored to continue the 125-year tradition of Catholic education on this historic site and we look forward to working with the parish and school communities in this next planning phase.
OUR LADY OF SION CONVENT AND CAMPUS SITE
EARLY CONCEPT IMAGERY FOR A PRELIMINARY PROPOSED MASTERPLAN
(subject to further development and regulatory authority approvals)
The 120-year-old convent building and site would be transformed into an educational campus for primary school education, with plans to relocate St Thomas' Catholic Primary School to the site.
The convent building's lower two levels would be refurbished to provide contemporary flexible spaces for primary education while the top (second floor) level of the convent building would become a teacher training centre.
A new purpose-built ‘Learning Street’ building would be constructed on the campus site and feature a variety of general and specialist learning spaces for years P-3. (Final design subject to further development and authority approvals).