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Novum Develops New Master Plan for a Growing School in Queensland

The below images have been included to illustrate the exploration of ideas during our Master Planning process and do not necessarily reflect the school’s final Master Plan. For this reason, we have intentionally removed annotations that would identify the subject school.

Our Master Planning process for this Queensland independent school was triggered by the completion of all works identified in the school’s previously development Master Plan.

While the previous Master Plan had many good attributes, it had not anticipated the school’s growth and required significant review.

Our process aimed firstly to identify the school’s immediate needs, for example, in order to accommodate a growing school and progressive pedagogical practices, several existing learning spaces required re-thinking and expansion to cater to flexible, collaborative learning practices.

The identification of high priority works was driven by consultation with the school’s leadership, teachers and support staff. For this project, our team was delighted to have the opportunity to pose several questions to the entire teaching staff, including:

What is already great about the school?

Master Planning should build on what is already great, and find new opportunities for greatness.

What areas of the school could do with improvements in the near future?

Master Planning should prioritise resolving existing problems. Once immediate and obvious priorities are dealt with, the school community can turn their attention to the future.

What ideas/teaching and learning practices/facilities should be top priority in the next 10 years?

In response to this question, we encourage school communities to dream big. While not all ideas can or will be implemented, sometimes even the boldest of ideas have merit and can be incorporated (at least in part) into the overall vision.

Some of the ideas generated by the teaching staff were:

  • More focus on trade training, reflecting the local area’s employment opportunities

  • Better adjacencies between departments to allow more multi-discipline collaborations (e.g. creative industries and design and technology precinct)

  • Expanded early learning centre to encourage young families to become part of the community sooner

While meaningful contributions from the school community are critical to a successful Master Plan, there are also plenty of operational, practical, regulatory, and evidence-based solutions and improvements that are considered throughout our process.

For example, this school, like many others, has significant traffic challenges that have only partially been addressed by previous construction works. As part of our Master Planning process, we were tasked with providing immediate improvements to traffic flow and pedestrian safety, whilst also considering a longer-term plan to best accommodate the various modes of setdown (early learning short-term car parking, private vehicle setdown, school-operated bus setdown, as well as public bus setdown), car parking, traffic flow, pedestrian safety and wayfinding.

Our approach to improving vehicular access was to pedestrianise an existing loop road to give open space back to students for gathering and lunch time activities, while also rationalising and simplifying vehicular routes through the campus. The opening up of safe pedestrian spaces also provided more direct access for students and staff accessing one side of the campus from the other.

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