The Elizabeth Blackburn School of Sciences by ClarkeHopkinsClarke
Tips for masterplaning and creating vibrant communities: Dean Landy

Melbourne architecture practice ClarkeHopkinsClarke (CHC) is part of the Learning Communities Victoria consortium, which has won the tender to design 15 new schools in Victoria. The schools have been funded under the New Schools Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project, part of the Andrews Labor government’s first Education State Budget.

A total of $730 million will be invested in school infrastructure across the state as part of this budget announced in May, with PPP schools accounting for a total of $291 million of this investment.

Learning Communities Victoria, a consortium led by Amber Infrastructure, Watpac (construction) and Spotless (facilities management) and including ClarkeHopkinsClarke, Engaging Spaces (education consultant), YMCA (community program provider), CERES (community program provider) and Jeavons (landscape architect), was selected via a competitive tender for the project.

Under the PPP model, the new schools will be financed, designed, constructed and maintained by the consortium to high contractual standards for a period of 25 years. The PPP model aims to take the time-consuming task of facility management off principals and teachers, allowing them to better focus on education.

The school areas included in the PPP plan are Bannockburn, Epping North, Point Cook South, North Geelong, Armstrong Creek, Torquay North, Mernda South, Casey Central East, Pakenham South West, Heather Grove, and Cranbourne South West.

Wayne Stephens, Partner at ClarkeHopkinsClarke said the firm is dedicated to establishing Victoria as the ‘Education State’, designing engaging spaces to be used by students and their wider communities. Each new school will be personalised with art, music, physical education and administrative facilities sympathetic to their existing environment. Community facilities and programs will be incorporated into each design, transforming every school into a community hub for local residents.

In line with the Labor Government’s Special Needs Plan, all schools will support new options for students with a disability, including an inclusive education precinct at Armstrong Creek and a special developmental school in North Geelong.

The Learning Communities Victoria consortium will commence construction on the PPP schools in late 2015. Eight schools have been fast-tracked to open in Term 1, 2017, with the remainder in Term 1, 2018.