Due to tight timelines that must be met, work has continued on our building works over the summer holidays. We are now in the Schematic Design phase, which provides us with more detail on the shape of buildings, walls and doors as well as a more accurate measure of the expected costs as a result. We have some conflicting priorities to work with here - there is the entitlement (what our school should have in regards to the size and number of specific learning and amenity areas), the school’s most urgent health, safety and educational needs, the available funding, which we cannot surpass and the Minister’s announcement, which is instrumental in receiving the remaining 90% of our funds.
I am pleased to announce that we have some images to share with the school community, with continued summary comments below.
- We have images now of the facade of STELLA. It is a brick facade as this is thought to fit in with both the existing main building aesthetic, but will also blend into the environment more for our neighbours than some of the more modern aesthetics.
- Windows on the western wall will be limited (due to heat exposure) so we have settled on a gabled roof with lighting that will come in from the ceiling.
- The ground floor at the Wales Street entrance will include a large library and two science labs. Due to cost limitations, the library is smaller than we should have for our size school, but it is still three times the size of what we currently have! It will be open plan, with some flexible furniture options, to allow for community information evenings to be held here.
- The ground floor also includes two science labs, which we are hoping to distinguish slightly by having one that lends itself more to creative sciences and cooking, whilst the other lends itself more to more traditional forms of (primary) science.
- The second floor will become a community of four classrooms, with an external shared space. The walls all have sliding doors, which provides us with the ‘flexible, yet traditional’ classrooms our students and teachers enjoy so much.
- A lift will be installed in STELLA, to make it more accessible. This will be at the same level as the MPR. A walkway will be designed between the landing outside the art room, to the second floor of STELLA. This will become the ‘rooftop terrace’ with modular planting boxes. The 3D images of this landing, looking over the terraced orchard is quite breathtaking. This will provide lovely access and flow between STELLA and MPR and will provide a number of new learning areas within an ‘Arts Precinct’ style area.
- STELLA will have toilets with access from outdoors. This provides us with the flexibility of having toilets that can be made accessible to the community during events such as Working Bees, without opening the main building.
- Across from the toilets in STELLA is an open-air amphitheatre. This would comprise of a few landings or steps that join to the retaining wall behind. We are hoping this learning space might become affectionately known as the Learning Pit.
- On the south-west corner of our land, STELLA and BER come close to each other, creating a ‘nook’. This has been well thought through and will now have a terraced garden which we are hoping to fill with Indonesian plants and perhaps an orchard. This space would not be accessible by students unless they are supervised by families, teachers or OSHC.
- All windows will be repaired so they are in working order.
- We will have a ramp installed near where the exterior water tanks currently sit. This took a number of meetings to settle on an appropriate option, but the brick design our architects have come up with is both functional and beautiful! I predict the ramp to become a new favourite place for students.
- The vinyl floors will be replaced throughout both floors of the main building.
- The current library will be turned into a ‘Teacher Classroom’ where teachers work and plan together, freeing the existing upstairs staffroom which currently acts as a lunch room, work room and student intervention space.
Part of the Schematic Design phase is to identify the tender options for the build. Tender options are portions of our plan that we could ‘drop off’ the list if it looks like the project is going over budget. Thankfully there is already a portion of the budget set aside as contingency for an emergency and so we hope to have all the options included, however I will be sharing our Tender Options in the next installment!