Property and Infrastructure Specialists
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Delivering schools for current and future generations

Education projects touch generations of people over a long period, upskill and inspire students and add economic value in both construction and operation. More than bricks and mortar, schools are an integral part of the learning process. How they are designed, built, and maintained directly impacts educators, students and the wider community who interact with the facilities.
Proposed design: Glenroy West Primary School SC Front Entrance. By Cotter Reid Architects

APP is managing 11 schools for the Victorian School Building Authority, which are all at different phases of delivery – some are in the design-development phase, others in procurement phase, and others under construction.  

Every school we’re involved in is a live environment, meaning operations must continue with minimal interruption. Careful planning and safety are paramount to ensure schools can continue to operate while major works are taking place. When designing and delivering schools it is critical to adapt to evolving requirements, and engage effectively with teachers, students, support, and technical staff involved with a campus. Actively listening and understanding the client’s main priorities at the different stages of the project is key to building strong relationships and trust – both in the private and public domain. As property professionals and live environment specialists, we help to translate the technical jargon and programs of construction into communications that the community understand.

Proposed design: Glenroy West Primary School MS Front Entrance. By Cotter Reid Architects.

Staging / Live Environment

There are multiple considerations when upgrading or expanding existing facilities, as operations need to continue uninterrupted without compromising on safety. Each school is a live environment requiring careful planning. A strategy facilitated by APP defines how students and teachers can safely move around blocked pathways with clear signage, and access temporary facilities while existing ones are under construction. This includes access to services (water, power, plumbing, etc.) while works are taking place.

Decant Strategy and Relocations

Aligned to operating in a live environment, the decant strategy and relocations looks at transferring buildings and people on a temporary basis during the building phase, scoping up what’s involved and meeting a range of functional needs. This includes managing the entire process to minimise disruption (using school holiday periods, for example) and ensuring all parties are aligned – contractors, consultants, builders, etc.

Infrastructure

A campus relies on the infrastructure serving the site such as telecommunications, fire systems, electrical, water supply and plumbing. Having detailed information about the building systems and components, and how the infrastructure is managed while works are taking place is an important consideration of the delivery process.

Canteen registration

The canteen within a school needs to be registered as a food business with local council, to ensure food premises are operated safely and food is handled appropriately. Scoping the process with local council, and what’s involved is a critical part of the educator and student experience.

Specialist Teaching Spaces

Our current schools include spaces designed for performing arts, STEM, food technology, maker spaces, and to support students with special needs. We have worked with our sophisticated design consultant partners to explore the requirements of each school, communicate change as required, and prioritise spend in a considered way.

Sporting Facilities

Gym buildings (high ball courts) and outdoor courts are long term specialised spaces that contribute to both the school and broader community and have ongoing maintenance considerations. Our experience has built a deep and broad understanding of the factors involved in this such as:

  • Selection of playing surface
  • Different maintenance regimes (repainting)
  • Acoustic characteristics
  • Flexibility for other sports
  • Spatials for a variety of sports e.g. runoff area around the actual court, line marking
  • Slip resistance, ‘spring’ and bounce characteristics
Proposed Design: Lalor SC Sports Building - looking northwest towards main entrance. By Brand Architects.

Road back from COVID-19

Now, the Victorian Government is implementing temporary and permanent technology and policy processes to address immediate return to school. Being at the forefront of design and construction, APP is seeing the impacts of these firsthand.

At APP, we recognise the value of being engaged early in the design process because that’s where the opportunity exists to add the most value to a project. A flexible, well-planned campus environment – both during construction and in the end state – can contribute to the learning process, offer safety, enhance connectivity, and provide a sense of ownership.

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