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    New Melbourne school to repurpose inter-war heritage buildings

    Nicholas Rider

    A new school for 550 students in Melbourne will repurpose the site’s existing heritage-listed buildings in its design.

    Designed by architects Gray Puksand, South Melbourne Park Primary School will sit at the edge of Albert Park Lake and retain “the last remaining example of the Inter War style employed for Defence facilities in Melbourne during the 1930s”. The final design will incorporate a mixture of renovated and new buildings.

    Gray Puksand has been working closely with Heritage Victoria and their own heritage advisors to understand how the school’s design can best use the existing buildings of the former Albert Park Signal Depot. Reusing these buildings will allow the school’s design to reflect the area's history while offering students a unique learning environment.

    For instance, the existing Drill Hall will become home to a new learning resource centre, an art, science and technology space, specialist music areas, a flexible space for exhibitions, and a student canteen. The West and East Houses will also be opened up for learning facilities.

    The Mess Hall will be repurposed to contain the reception, leadership and administration areas.

    Proposed new buildings include a two-storey learning communities building with varied spaces for learning and collaboration, and a gym with a competition grade netball and basketball court.

    Addressing sustainability, new insulation has been proposed for all ceiling voids where possible. In addition, any glazing that requires replacing will be upgraded to double glazing.

    The new buildings will be naturally ventilated with penable windows. And a 40,000 litre in-ground rainwater tank will be located adjacent to the gym for toilet flushing and irrigation. ​

    South Melbourne Park Primary School is expected to open for the start of the 2019 school year. 

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