Hayball has been announced as the architect for Australia’s largest-ever education precinct. The Footscray Learning Precinct (FLP) will be part of the Victorian government’s $2.5-billion investment in schools. All up, it will touch over 1,000 existing schools and create 56 new schools.

FLP will be home to several of these new schools, which will cover the full spectrum of education – from preschool through tertiary. Most notably, Footscray has been chosen as the location for a new Victoria University campus.

The scale of the Hayball project is huge, representing an entire precinct within a major Melbourne growth corridor. The new facilities will be spread across five separate sites in three distinct precincts. All up, the masterplan includes an early childhood centre, junior secondary school, a vertical school in Seddon, and a number of refurbishments to existing primary schools in the area.

“As one of Melbourne’s biggest growth corridors, this project presents an extraordinary opportunity to use education as a key driver in the urban transformation of Footscray,” says Richard Leonard, director at Hayball. “Never before has Australia seen a learning precinct of this scale, linking preschool, K-12 and tertiary education spaces together across three hubs to transform Footscray from an industrial city to a knowledge city.

“Hayball will be driving the master planning of three distinct precincts across five separate sites to create an inherently linked education precinct. There’s an enormous opportunity here to explore innovative models of education, and take cues from international exemplars to design a series of buildings, spaces and facilities that will evolve as students, teachers, communities and curriculums do.”

Leonard says that FLP is a timely initiative from the Victorian government, as it will present solutions to the educational and cultural challenges expected to be faced over the next few decades. By offering shared spaces and services for the community and a large number of local and international students, the FLP will help to combat resource shortage in Melbourne’s inner west.

Hayball was announced as the architect for FLP yesterday in a release by the Victorian government. The next stage of the precinct’s development will now be the master planning and design for all sites, including a new secondary campus in the neighbouring suburb of Seddon. These plans will incorporate recommendations made in the Footscray Learning Precinct Feasibility Report, which was developed after extensive community consultation.

The final governance model and transition arrangements for the Footscray Learning Precinct will be announced at the end of this year.