Upgrade and Modernisation
About the project
The school moved to a new leased site in 2023 that keeps it connected to its local community in Brunswick. The new location is close to the previous site, ensuring there was minimal disruption during the move.
We worked with the school to modifiy the new building to suit its approach to teaching and learning. The new site offers a more flexible learning environment, a building in better condition and the security of a lease that can run for up to 20 years.
Why did Sydney Road Community School move?
The school was not able to extend the lease on its previous site and spent 12 months working with the Department of Education and Training to find a new home for the school. The aim was to find a suitable new home that would keep the school connected to the local community while meeting the teaching and learning needs of students.
What does the new school look like?
The project team and architects worked with the school for months to plan what was needed to create a great new learning environment.
The improvements to site included:
- refurbishing the hall (we retained the front facade onto Glenlyon Street, provided a new access ramp, installed a mezzanine level inside the main hall area, added classrooms and upgraded facilities to suit a school environment)
- building the main reception at the front of the hall alongside the meeting rooms
- upgrading toilets and amenities
- transforming the main church hall into a library and shared space
- installing a 3-storey modular building behind the hall at the Merri Street end of the site
- retaining the established gum tree on the site, completing landscaping that includes fencing that climbing plants will grow across, and prioritising native planting in the landscape beds (we used Australian indigenous plants as well as plants indigenous to the northern areas of Melbourne)
- creating a central outdoor learning and play space between the refurbished hall and modular classrooms
- integrating indoor and outdoor learning spaces, allowing the school to provide a diverse range of programs.
Many options were modelled to achieve the best outcomes for Sydney Road Community School. Most important to the school was having their own site in the same local area.
The modular building provides room for more students, while also maximising indoor and outdoor learning spaces. Students are able to get great education close to their homes.
The school’s 2 music rooms are in the 3-storey modular building. One on the ground floor, and one on the first floor. There are also 2 classrooms on each level. The music rooms have been designed specifically to our Building Quality Standards Handbook (BQSH). The BQSH requires that classrooms next to music rooms can operate without interference. This means the music rooms will have sound insulation that prevents impact on neighbouring properties in Merri Street.
As part of the landscaping design, chain-mesh fencing allows for climbing plants to grow across them. This is designed to provide privacy for both the school and the neighbouring properties. The VSBA will address any overlooking issues during the fit-out stage, including applying privacy film where needed to the windows at the rear of the modular building on Merri Street.
Shadow studies show that there are no significant impacts to the residents of 1-3 Dods St apartment complex, on Merri Street or Chapel Street. The VSBA has made available the shadow studies to interested nearby residents which show the shadows from the new school building, hourly from 9am to 3pm on 22 September 2021. This is consistent with analysis that would otherwise be required under the local residential planning scheme.
In considering a new location for SRCS, the aim was to find a suitable home for the school that would keep it connected to the local community while meeting the teaching and learning needs of students.
Through 2019-2021 the VSBA consulted extensively with the school community including the school’s co-principals, leadership team, current and past council presidents, and departmental staff to ensure that upon choosing a new site, educational, cultural, technical and other specific student requirements could be factored into the design.
The preparation of a new home for SCRS required a complex upgrade and modernisation project, on a small, leased site. The VSBA consulted experts for this type of building project, as well as technical and design specialists. This included services and acoustic engineers, a landscape architect, and an accessibility consultant.
The VSBA identified the church site as a preferred location. Following consultation with the Merri-bek City Council (Council), and with support from the church the Victorian Government announced the school would move to 8 Glenlyon Road, Brunswick.
With construction planned to commence in January 2021, we invited the school community to attend a face-to-face information session on Friday 3 December 2021, to hear about its exciting move to the new leased site in 2023. We also released designs for the school’s new home online.
Due to the challenges of COVID-19, we also recorded a virtual information session and shared the video link in a construction notification that was distributed on 15 December 2021 to the community. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until much later that we learned this notice wasn’t delivered to a number of addresses close to the new site.
Due to unforeseen delays, construction did not go ahead in January as planned. A second construction notification was sent to the local community (including those residents closest to the new site), inviting them to attend an information session held on 7 April 2022.
During this session, local residents discussed the new school site with the VSBA project team, the architects and the co-principals of Sydney Road Community School.
From the 2020–21 Infrastructure Planning and Acceleration fund, the school was allocated $380,000 in planning funding.
In the 2020–21 State Budget, the school received $3.42 million.
Sydney Road Community School - site map
This image shows a site plan of Sydney Road Community School. The school is located between Glenlyon Road and Merri Street. The existing church building is on the Glenlyon Road side of the site, and the new modular building is on the Merri Street side.
Reviewed 28 March 2023