Surf Coast Schools Safari

Published: Sunday 2 August 2015

Surf Coast Secondary College and The Eileen Ann Daffy Centre, Sacred Heart College Geelong

In August 2015, participants travelled to visit two regional school facilities and exemplar learning spaces at the Surf Coast Secondary College Torquay by DWP Suters, and the Eileen Ann Daffy Centre at Sacred Heart College Geelong by Henderson and Lodge.

The innovative spaces at Surf Coast Secondary College are visually connected in order to support learning with and through a community of learners. This is a bold shift from traditional secondary school design. Differentiated teaching activities using multimodal devices and a desire to personalise student learning drove many of the design decisions. Flexible spaces accommodate both small and large group gathering and independent learning activities. The new College is part of a wider civic district and has been designed as a community precinct.

At Surf Coast Secondary College, members of the project planning committee, including the architect and the principal, gave a presentation on the design process and pedagogical vision of the school. The group was then given a guided tour around the new school facilities.

The Eileen Ann Daffy Centre at Sacred Heart College Geelong has become the focus for the college community. By including a canteen and coffee bar where both students and teachers naturally gather, the hub is building relationships between them. The hub also houses the Information Technology Department giving students and teachers easy access to technology. Considered planning involved architects, teachers and students, and links to an existing heritage-listed building also required careful consideration. Sacred Heart College has created a nurturing and supportive environment, which students and staff alike do not seem to want to leave.

On arriving at Sacred Heart College, participants were given a presentation by a representative of the school, who discussed the design and construction process. This was followed by a tour of the facilities with discussion of the design and pedagogical ideas behind the spaces.

Attendee Comments:
"General broadening of my knowledge in designing institutional buildings, by seeing the spaces in use."
"Educational floor space design was interesting and stimulating. I could also see it as a very good learning environment that would be well received by students."
"Creative use of art spaces and what a good transformation can do to regenerate and reinvigorate a space."

Surf Coast Secondary College was awarded a commendation in the 2014 Victorian Chapter Entire New Facility Award.

The Eileen Daffy Centre Sacred at Heart College Geelong was awarded a commendation in the 2014 Victorian Chapter Renovation/Modernisation over $1M Award.

Architects: DWP Suters (Surf Coast Secondary College) and Henderson and Lodge Architects (Eileen Ann Daffy Centre)