Vertical schools on the rise

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 25 Aug 2017   Posted by admin


BY EMMA DAVIES

HAILEYBURY’S city campus is a 10-storey, 13,000 sqm building, including terraces and rood top recreational areas for more than 800 students in the heart of Melbourne.

Haileybury chief executive and Principal Derek Scott started looking at the demographics in Melbourne in 2012 after observing the trend for higher density living around the CBD, and with three campuses already in the Melbourne suburbs, the logical conclusion was an inner city site.

“We comissioned KPMG to do a full demographic study for us and put projections forward to 2030, which showed the extraodinary growth that was occuring and was likely to keep occuring in Melbourne of families with children living in the inner CBD regions,” Mr Scott said.

“I looked at vertical schools in the UK and in other parts of Europe.

“We operate extesively in Asia as well, so we tried to take what was applicable from all of those and apply them to what we thought would be the right model for a school here in Melbourne.”

Level 3 and 4 Terrace with CitySkyline views

The city campus is directly opposite Flagstaff Gardens, which means from the third floor and up, students can overlook the treetops from their classrooms.

This brings a green element to the urban environment and ambient, natural light inside the building.

“We tried to keep all of that natural light flowing through with lots of glass spaces for our classrooms, and that’s been a key part of the refurbishments at all of our campuses; opening up all the classrooms to have glass frontages where there can be observations in and out of those classrooms,” Mr Scott said.

“It fitted with what we saw as best practice for teaching and learning environements, and it fitted with the whole school environment that we were creating.”

The campus has a suprising amount of recreation space for students to enjoy.

There are two outdoor terraces on Levels 3 and 4, which are about the size of three tennis courts across the two levels.

“Over the next 18 months we will include a rooftop gymnasium, and more rooftop outdoor recreation spaces,” Mr Scott said.

“We also have a 1000sqm indoor recreation sporting facility, about the size of a normal gym, except it doesn’t have the full height ceilings.”

As part of the development, Haileybury worked with the Melbourne City Council to put in a pedestrian crossing directly from the school across King Street to Flagstaff Gardens.

This allows the students to enjoy passive recreation at recess and lunchtime with staff in the gardens and access to the council owned sporting facilities close by.

“We projected that most or a significant proportion of the families would actually be living relatively close nearby and that has occured,” he said.

“Many of our families are actually walking to school with the kids and dropping them off or the kids are walking by themselves from middle school up.

“It’s very handy for public transport, and there’s also a full level undergound pick up and drop off space for the ELC and junior school students.”

Level 4 Terrace

The drop off and pick up zone has not contributed to any further congestion and Mr Scott was adamant they did not want to create an environment which would bring more cars into the city.

“Furthermore, one of the measures we put in place for the city campus staff was the provision of annual public transport cards,” he said.

The first three floors of the building have large floor plates of 2000sqm,allowing open spaces on the lower floors for lectures, recreation, library resource spaces and a dedicated visual and performing arts space.

“There is even a cafe on the ground floor which is open to the public.

“We wanted to make sure that when people walked into this building their conception of what a city school might be like was changed by the big open spaces we have on those lower levels.”

From the fourth floor upwards, the learning spaces and classrooms flow out into a central core or mixed learning spaces and different environments.

“There’s a full science floor that’s operating really well, which people would recognise as traditional classroom spaces, but also with a creative mix of other learning and recreation spaces,” Mr Scott said.

“It’s just that they’re stacked on top of each other rather than being spread across a large acerage.”

Feedback from staff and parents has been positive, with the junior school enrolments already full next year, confirming the demand for a school in the heart of the CBD.

Haileybury has made the city campus accessable for students from all its campuses, redesigning components of the curriculum to give the students increased access to all the various cultural, historical and science facilties around the city.

“There’s a great opportunity when you’re in that sort of environment to really build a dynamic curriculum which ties in with a great city like Melbourne,” Mr Scott said.

“It’s been a great project, it’s a first for Melbourne and we’re delighted with the way that it’s operating.”