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PROJECT UPDATE: Riverside Christian College Junior College (Stages 1 & 2)

The Riverside Junior College redevelopment is our second major works project with Riverside Christian College, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue our journey with the College and its leadership team!

The new Junior College precinct will be situated at the very front of the campus. In this position, it was vital that we created impact without sacrificing the atmosphere that Riverside have fostered, critical for the young families who would be using these spaces. The building is designed to reflect the developmental journey of the students, from Prep through year six. As they grow, the building caters for their changing needs, sparking interest and curiosity along the way.

Working with the Riverside team, several design considerations became key priorities to reflect their progressive pedagogical approaches, including:

Acoustics. Research shows that noise deteriorates learning outcomes. Distractions can increase a child’s cognitive load, reduce their concentration and impact comprehension of verbal communication; particularly in larger group and collaborative learning modes. This development has been thoughtfully designed in consultation with the teaching staff, to provide sound separation between classes while still allowing visual connection and flexibility between learning areas, achieved through the use of high-performance glazing and wall insulation.

Internal and external surfaces have also been designed to absorb sound, creating calmer, quieter, and visually appealing spaces.

In modern learning spaces, there is often a need for multi-mode learning within one classroom. Each learning area in the building has provided direct access to acoustically treated breakout rooms for quiet work and withdrawal, as well as access to outdoor learning areas.

Practicality. Bag racks form an important piece of the Junior College puzzle, and our solution was specifically designed to consider young children with limited height and reach, allowing for unassisted access by students while also providing passive supervision by staff. The bespoke design incorporates seating and gathering opportunities for lunch time, learning, breakout, and marshalling activities.

Wide verandas and breezeways across both levels allow for circulation, gathering and outdoor learning year-round, and encourages teachers and students to access nature play and open areas.

Flexibility. Young learners thrive when spaces allow for various learning preferences and modes, including flexible, varied furniture options, space to move and store unused items out of the way. Various writable and pinnable surfaces around the room create multiple points of focus and allow students to work in smaller groups or individually in various locations and modes throughout the precinct.

Connection with Nature. Riverside is located alongside the beautiful Mary River and bushland. The design has taken advantage of these vistas by providing large operable windows throughout the centre to increase natural daylight, allow cross ventilation, and provide unrestricted views of nature. Studies have indicated that connection and interaction with nature reduces attention deficit symptoms and that natural environments and increased natural daylight in classrooms improves learning outcomes.

Our team worked closely with the college to understand their vision for the project and ensure that the design met their needs and goals. We are proud to have played a part in designing a space that will have a positive impact on young students, their families, and the Maryborough region for years to come. Thank you to Riverside Christian College for entrusting us with this important project!

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