ClarkeHopkinsClarke Selected To Design New Schools


Melbourne architecture practice ClarkeHopkinsClarke (CHC) has been selected to design 15 new Victorian schools as part of the Learning Communities Victoria consortium.

The schools have been funded under the New Schools Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project, part of the Andrews Government's first Education State Budget.

Announced in May, the budget features a total $730 million to be invested in school infrastructure across the state. The PPP schools account for a total $291 million of this investment.

Learning Communities Victoria was selected as the preferred consortium via a competitive tender to manage the new schools. The consortium is lead by Amber Infrastructure, Watpac (construction) and Spotless (facilities management) and includes ClarkeHopkinsClarke, Engaging Spaces (education sconsultant), YMCA (community program provider), CERES (community program provider) and Jeavons (landscape architect).

Under the PPP model, the new schools will be financed, designed, constructed and maintained by the consortium to high contractual standards over 25 years. The model is designed to take the time consuming task of facility management off principals and teachers, allowing them to better focus on student learning.

For example, the existing primary school in Bannockburn is currently at capacity, with lunchtime and recesses currently staggered to provide students with adequate space. The government currently spends $550,000 (an average of $180 per student per term) on students travelling outside of the shire, mainly to Ballarat and Geelong, in order to attend secondary school.

ClarkenHopkinsClarke will be designing 15 new Victorian schools. Pictured is the CHC-designed Brighton Grammar.[/caption]The architects at CHC have treated the environment of each PPP site as a three- dimensional textbook, where the buildings and landscapes themselves provide daily learning experiences.

“CHC is dedicated to establishing Victoria as the ‘Education State’, designing engaging spaces to be used by students and their wider communities,” said CHC Partner Wayne Stephens.

Each new school will be personalised with art, music, physical education and administrative facilities sympathetic to their existing environment, while working within specific requirements of each community.

Community facilities and programs will be incorporated into each design, transforming every school into a community hub capable of benefitting each site’s surrounding residents.

Brighton Grammar was designed by CHC.[/caption]“Schools are no longer 9am to 3pm zones; these have capacity to support a wide range of community groups and initiatives when equipped with quality amenities,” Stephens says.

Students with special needs have also been a key consideration in CHC’s design. In line with the State Government’s Special Needs Plan, all schools will support new options for students with a disability, including an inclusive education precinct at Armstrong Creek and a special developmental school in North Geelong.

Learning Communities Victoria will commence construction on the PPP schools in late 2015. Eight schools have been fast-tracked to open in Term 1, 2017, with the remainder in Term 1, 2018.

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