How our construction industry is improving the educational outcomes for our children?

Posted 19 June 2018

How our construction industry is improving the educational outcomes for our children?

Of the entries in the MBA's commercial sector, half are from the education sector and innovation and inventiveness does not discriminate between private and public schools.

When we think about the importance of our built environment, how highly do we consider the impact it has on educational settings?

There is now considerable evidence to show there is a relationship between the physical characteristics of educational buildings, and the spaces within them, and educational outcomes of students.

Achieving optimal design solutions for educational facilities is a complex and challenging goal. Here in the ACT, our construction and educational industries have come together to explore the principals of learning spaces and their effects on learning outcomes. So much so, the list of finalists in the Education category of the Master Builders Building Excellence Awards was at a record high this year.

It has ensured new generations of students across the ACT can learn in never-before-imagined spaces. For instance, how about arriving in the foyer of Brindabella Christian College Junior School via a bright red slide? Not to mention learning complex specialist science curriculum in state-of-the-art labs at Caroline Chisholm High Schools new STEM centre.

The commercial entries - from the education sector highlight the innovation and inventiveness of our industry, and does not discriminate between private and public schools.

Here is a taste of the projects which deserve to be celebrated.

  • IQon designed the Caroline Chisholm Innovation and Learning Centre as the ACT's first Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) building, encouraging specialised and in-depth learning. The vocational facility for visiting teachers and students of Canberra's southern region is co-located at the existing high school. At a cost of $4 million, the north-facing, energy efficient facility was created with minimal disruption to existing students and was delivered ahead of time.

  • PBS Building delivered four new flexible learning spaces, a staff room and one large flexible learning space within the junior school of Radford College. The $3 million project allows for these learning spaces to be reconfigured to cater for different class sizes. Acoustically-designed to reduce noise, and including a later addition of bathrooms, the project was carried out with minimal disruption to existing students and provides a new concourse between old and new buildings.

  • Built helped create new facilities at Canberra Grammar School in response to co-education and an additional demand on senior school enrolments. The $3.5 million project includes a two-storey building consisting of seven classrooms, with a new house office and locker room all encased in dramatic zinc cladding. External works include an amphitheatre, concrete seating and stairs to help integrate the new building into an existing setting. Work was carried out in close proximity to the school Chapel which brought heritage considerations into play - as did the need to preserve a number of heritage-listed trees.

  • Built took on the Brindabella Christian College's Junior School project with extreme time pressures. Critically, it needed to be completed by Day 1 of the 2018 school term in time to accommodate some 450 students and staff. It also needed to be constructed while 1100 students and staff completed the 2017 academic year. It includes 16 new classrooms, an open atrium, wet play and learning areas, a performance space and - finally, the wondrous slide, allowing quick and playful access from the first floor to the ground floor assembly area for enthusiastic students.

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