About the project
Fire caused significant damage to Sandringham Primary School at the beginning of 2020.
We rebuilt parts of the school that were destroyed or damaged in the fire. New facilities include:
- modern indoor and outdoor learning areas
- a library
- an art workshop
- staff facilities
- outdoor play and sports spaces.
We consulted the community on the rebuild from 3–25 March 2020. The consultation included an online survey and a face-to-face event.
Support services, including counselling, have been made available to staff and students.
From the beginning of Term 2, 2020, Sandringham Primary School was located at a 'temporary village' located on the junior campus of Sandringham College (Bluff Road). We worked with both school communities to ensure all students and staff continue to be a part of a great learning environment with minimal disruption.
Sandringham Primary School remained at the Bluff Road village for the 2020 and 2021 school years until the rebuild was complete.
Has the school community been involved in plans for the rebuild?
Yes. We consulted the community on the rebuild from 3-25 March 2020. The consultation included an online survey and a face-to-face event. We have used the community feedback to create a ‘What We Heard’ report, which helped shape the design of the rebuilt school.
Were existing relocatable classrooms included in the rebuild? What is the plan for these?
The relocatables were not impacted by the fire, and will continue to be available for the school to use.
Did the rebuild provide specific design features to protect students from sun and rain?
Yes. The rebuild provides a variety of retreat spaces where children can gather during hot, wet and windy weather. The walkover for the new second storey level also provides an undercover area for students. The school will continue to run standard procedures, such as wet-day timetabling, to ensure children are safe during extreme weather events.
Were play spaces included in the rebuild?
Thankfully, most of the school’s play equipment was untouched by the fire and remains in good condition for students to use.
Landscape works were part of the rebuild. This included re-landscaping the lost deck area and creating a new hardcourt play space for students. The design also included outdoor learning areas across the site and creates spaces that enable students to engage with the school’s landscaping.
How much of the original school building has been retained?
The school, and our design team, prioritised keeping elements from the original building where possible. We have retained half the original school building, and salvaged remnants of the brick walls around the south-boundary and the original staff common room. These areas will be an important part of integrating Sandringham Primary School’s history with its new facilities.
Sandringham Primary School – site plan
This image is a site plan of the rebuild scope of works. Marked up are:
- new building
- new paving and landscape
- reinstated totem poles
- landscape to be maintained
- refurbished spaces
- court surface to be remediated.
We engaged with students, parents and community members from Sandringham Primary School from 3 to 23 March 2020, via an online survey, a student workshop and a community drop-in session. A workshop with staff was also planned but had to be cancelled due to COVID-19, so staff provided their input via the online survey.
The engagement process was designed to help acknowledge the community’s trauma and grief, as well as provide them an opportunity to move forward. In particular, we wanted to know what the school community’s favourite spaces are at the school and what they would like to see in the rebuilt school.
This report summarises what we heard from your community during this engagement.
We heard from:
- 20% of online survey respondents are current teachers
- 66% of online survey respondents are parents/carers of a current student
- 50+ attended community drop-in session
- 127 online survey responses
- 500 students involved in workshops.
We heard very strong and consistent feedback focused around three key themes
- A design that includes lots of outdoor spaces
- Making the most of available space
- Appropriately reflecting the school’s heritage.
Appropriately reflecting the school’s heritage
It is clear that the community want the rebuild design to reflect the heritage of the original school, and expect a design that integrates these heritage elements sensitively and respectfully. Participants Specifically mentioned how much they love the old building, heritage windows and the red bricks.
“Of course paying homage to the heritage of the school is super important” - Online survey respondent
“The front office and prep rooms right in front of the new playground as they have a solid heritage feel with big windows and lets in a lot of light” - Online survey respondent
“The school sits within the heritage Gypsy Village precinct and fits with the character of the neighbourhood. The rebuild should have contemporary facilities inside but its street facing elements should remain in line with the heritage character of the area” - Online survey respondent
“Buildings bricks to match to keep character of the school” - Community drop-in session participant
“Please keep as much as original blueprint and red brick as possible” - Community drop-in session participant
A design that includes lots of outdoor spaces
The community highlighted how much they value having a good amount of outdoor space that provides multiple playgrounds and play spaces for children to run around. They also value the oval and multiple sports courts, with appropriate sporting equipment for the students to have a variety of active opportunities. The community also feel it is important that these spaces can be shared with the local community.
We also heard about the importance of green shaded garden areas and having a variety of spaces that can be used for a range of purposes, including quiet relaxed spaces as well as areas that can also be used as outdoor learning spaces. The courtyard and kitchen garden at the school were highlighted many times throughout the engagement and clearly are much loved by the community.
“The outdoor spaces, the garden areas, the space for children to move around” - Online survey respondent
“Outdoor spaces, playgrounds for individual play and wider area for class sports and outdoor school events” - Online survey respondent
“Wonderful existing play spaces, particularly junior playground away from the bigger kids” - Community drop-in session participant
“Playground age-appropriate spaces” - Community drop-in session participant
Making the most of available space
Related to how much they value outdoor spaces, the community was very keen that we design indoor learning spaces to maximise capacity as much as possible. The community has a strong
preference to increase outdoor space so there are more play and sports spaces available. To help facilitate this, some community members wished to see the portable buildings removed. Other suggestions were to use double-storey buildings to ensure there is sufficient capacity for students now and in the future without encroaching on outdoor spaces.
“Consider use of doublestorey buildings to maximise floor plan/space within playground/school yard!” - Online survey respondent
“Get rid of the portable classrooms. Ensure the new building has the capacity to house the students currently situated in the portables that take up valuable land that historically was open space for the school and the community” - Online survey respondent
“Two-storey on west side to protect from sun & weather” - Community drop-in session participant
“Retain/improve open layout” - Community drop-in session participant
We wish to thank the Sandringham Primary School community for their thoughtful feedback and suggestions during this difficult time. We have provided your community’s ideas and feedback to the architects to consider while designing the rebuilt school.
You can access a designed version of this report.
Reviewed 24 October 2022