Students at Central Coast Grammar School have experienced one full term with their new $2m senior English, Geography and History facility (B Block), which was completed by Stevens Construction in January.
The refurbishment is part of the school’s broader master plan and has been designed to reflect the very latest international thinking in learning environments. “Over the past 18 months, the school has invested significantly in next generation learning facilities that develop cutting-edge teaching, learning and digital literacy capacities, as part of our commitment to the Next Generation Learning framework outlined in the strategic plan,” school Headmaster, Mr Bill Low, said. “Prior to the work commencing, an extensive prototyping and testing period involved feedback from both teachers and students, which created a high degree of ownership of the final design.
“Significant effort was devoted to researching best practice models, ensuring that everything from the structural design to the inbuilt technology, and even the furnishings, would support the most productive learning environment for students. “Existing classrooms were purposely expanded and redesigned to create larger, more innovative spaces that foster enhanced collaboration and digital literacy capabilities,” he continued. According to Mr Low, a key feature of the new space is its flexibility, where furnishings can be easily adapted from open discussion mode, to lecture mode, small group work and back again, all in the space of a lesson.
“The design has also taken advantage of our beautiful natural surrounds, in particular, the large café style windows which increase natural light and seamlessly connect indoor and outdoor learning areas,” Mr Low said. Digital collaboration zones and cutting-edge technological enhancements are a standout feature within the building. “Multiple high-definition videos can be streamed simultaneously via Wi-Fi from multiple devices. “We believe the interconnectedness of these elements makes this a world first use of this technology in a classroom,” Mr Low added. Mr David Soede, the school’s Director of ICT, developed the unique copper mesh system, based on leading NASA research, to stop interference and allow for a significant increase in Wi-Fi speed.
“Over 500 square metres of copper mesh, specifically sourced from the USA was used to serve 24 wireless access points and over 40 screens, within the building. “While the design of the building was important, it is the interaction and engagement of students and teachers within the space that is key to fostering a collaborative learning culture. “In this new environment, default positions are being challenged as learners are liberated to work together in new ways. “Students are at the centre of their learning rather than the more traditional teacher-centered models.
“Teachers and students have been keen to book in and experience the new facility, and it is envisaged that this design will help inform the development of future learning environments within the school,” said Mr Low. “Over the coming weeks, the space will be further enhanced with the installation of operable walls between every second classroom, to allow teachers and students to work collaboratively throughout the building. “A film studio is also being installed to make it easy for students to showcase their learning and understanding through multimedia creation,” he concluded.
Source: Website, Feb 23 Bill Low, Central Coast Grammar School