Sacred Heart Primary School

Sacred Heart Primary School

An upgrade and extension of a school on a modest budget and demanding timeline.

Traditional Land Owners: Wurundjeri People
Builder: Ducon
Photos: Emma Cross

The upgrade and extension of Sacred Heart Primary School, transformed the school on a modest budget in a demanding timeline. The priority of the school was the upgrade and extension of a constricted 3 storey 1930s classroom block and the refurbishment of the existing parish hall. By reviewing the opportunities and constraints of the site as a whole, Kennedy Nolan was able to transform the school through a series of modest external interventions while addressing the programmatic requirements of the brief.

Work involved modifying existing classrooms to create exciting, flexible activity spaces connected to a new 3 level extension housing multi-purpose art, discovery and IT learning areas. The design addressed issues of accessibility, sustainability, traffic noise and allowed for an integrated teaching curriculum. The parish hall, used by the school, the parish and the wider community was refurbished to allow flexible use for both physical education and recreation, and a centre for performing arts.

The school site was confined, a series of incongruent disparate buildings almost randomly located around the perimeter of an asphalt desert that doubled as a playground and parish car park. There was little sense of entry or public address. A new stepped timber deck and ramp wraps a corner of the playground area, creating an outdoor learning area directly off the existing classrooms, addressing accessibility issues and defining the playground area. The school entry was softened and transformed through planting and grass pavers which identify the area as a shared pedestrian and vehicle zone, improve student safety and create a sense of public address.