ROAM Architects were appointed to develop a new masterplan for St Augustine’s Primary School, Keilor. The existing school buildings are located to the flatter northern areas of the site. The site slopes steeply toward the south offering spectacular views of Taylor’s Creek valley and hills beyond, giving the school a unique ‘rural in the suburbs’ feeling. The school has a combination of buildings from various decades which includes several relocatable classrooms to the west of the main school buildings.
ST AUGUSTINE’S BRIEF
The brief was to develop a comprehensive masterplan which considered both major capital funded building projects alongside smaller ‘start now’ improvements which could be made in the short and medium term. The masterplan supports the educational vision and forms the basis of future capital grant applications.
WHAT WERE THE KEY CHALLENGES?
The sloping site creates multiple level changes both externally and internally within the existing buildings. To the west, existing relocatable classrooms are isolated from the main school buildings making student movement between the buildings very difficult to manage. Another key challenge was how to effectively upgrade the existing learning spaces to create a contemporary learning environment and to better utilise the breakout spaces to the north of the classrooms. Consultation workshops revealed that the school’s strong community focus and connection to the natural environment is highly valued by students, educators and the school community. This insight emphasised the importance that the master plan retain and enhance these aspects of the current school ethos and environment.
OUR APPROACH TO THE BRIEF
The masterplan proposes to fully refurbish six existing classrooms in the 1980s building with new connecting glazed sliding doors and external learning decks. Ramps and a platform lift will ensure all areas are fully accessible. Between the existing classroom wings a new infill extension will create a centre-piece performance & flexible learning space which frames spectacular views of the landscape beyond. Other minor improvements include new breakout spaces to the existing STEM centre and improvements to the staff room and library.
The existing relocatable classrooms are proposed to be replaced with a new learning hub including 6 classrooms and amenities. Between the proposed building and the existing school is a new outdoor Learning Piazza which is roofed for all weather use.
The masterplan also integrates an existing landscape masterplan which proposes to refurbish the existing oval and terraces to the lower areas of the site. Whilst the new learning hub and oval works anticipate major capital building works, the works to the existing school buildings have been designed to be built over multiple stages providing the school with a practical road map for future school development.
Masterplan Phase Complete