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After a devastating fire which destroyed an entire school block at Ararat West Primary School in late 2017, the search for a solution led to the VSBA Permanent Modular Replacement Program. Motivated by Pretect’s impressive portfolio of projects in the Catholic Education sector, the school and Building Authority awarded the design and construction contract to Pretect in December 2017. The project encompassed a Senior Learning Area at Ararat West Primary School that would feature open spaces, with shared facilities, suited to the collaborative learning approach of the school.

Less than a month later, Pretect submitted a design for an addition consisting of “fit for purpose“ spaces designed to facilitate the school’s learning outcomes. One of the main factors was to create a design that offered maximum flexibility. Pretect incorporated this objective by including moveable, glazed dividers that allow the space to be transformed and reconfigured depending on different learning group sizes and planned activities.

Construction commenced in March 2018 and the predominantly off-site process of modular building meant that the school experienced minimal disruptions. The new facilities were optimised to utilise the space in the most efficient manner, with 6 interconnecting GPLAs, linked to and opening from a central Learning Hub, by large glazed sliding doors.

Keeping in mind the intention to create a modern, open space with a natural flow of energy, this customised design made the most out of natural light and installation with strategically placed windows on external walls well as high-light windows above the central learning hub. The open space concept reflected in the single, continuous floor level design as well as a calming interior design scheme work together to facilitate smooth movement throughout the area and easier access for pedestrians, trolleys and even wheelchairs using the DDA compliant ramp access.

When creating this learning space, Pretect paid particular attention to sustainability and durability. The classrooms, external deck and landscaping were designed in a way that utilised renewable timber structural elements and timber-based manufactured composite materials selected for their low environmental impact. In addition, the building orientation, window placement and quality insulation were designed to optimise solar heating in winter and shading during summer. Cooling, heating and lighting systems employ low energy consumption technologies and will continue to generate savings over the many years this facility will remain active.

In terms of aesthetics, this addition to Ararat West Primary School was designed to complement the school’s existing facilities by reflecting currently used design elements and elements and materials.
This created a cohesive visual effect and delivered the perks of a modern facility while upholding the traditional visual identity of the school.

After final touches to the landscaping surrounding this project, the new building was ready for occupants by July, 2018. The selection of modular construction once again proved to be a time saving and cost efficient strategy with the quality controlled factory manufacturing taking place around the clock and eliminating risks to OH&S, weather delays and other disruptions caused by traditional on-site building activity.

Principal Mr Terry Keilar expressed his satisfaction on the outcome. “You guys have been brilliant to work with, especially Stephen. Very accommodating, flexible, transparent and approachable. This helped our school community have constant information and an understanding of how the project was tracking.” – Mr Terry Keilar, Principal, Ararat West Primary School.

This project is a perfect example of the efficiency of building by Pretect. Within just months following a fire that destroyed a much-needed learning area, Pretect were able to deliver a new and improved facility within timeline and budget constraints and minimise the effects of the fire on the school and community. Most importantly, the new addition has been built upholding the highest of standards of quality and designed to stand the test of time while providing a stimulating learning environment for generations to come.


Project Value: $2,543,693 (ex GST)

6 interconnecting GPLAs, linked to and opening from a central Learning Hub, by large glazed sliding doors

Movable room dividers for acoustic, physical or visual separation.

Raked ceiling heights at over 5 meters with large high-light windows offering natural light and ventilation.

Complementary of the school’s existing aesthetic, drawing from and extending on the currently used design

View Floor Plan
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