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Cobram Secondary College and Pretect collaborated on a fabulous new building.

The important considerations for Cobram Secondary College in their rebuilding project were around student affirmation. They wanted a building designed for the school’s purposes, that was visually appealing, comfortable and demonstrated to the students that their needs matter. High quality finishes and fixtures were specified to imbue a sense of confidence and pride in the school and Pretect was engaged to design, construct and bring this vision to life.

Pretect’s experience and expertise as a volumetric modular builder in the education space, ensured precision in design, construction, delivery and costing. Meeting a tight time frame and managing the challenges of a Covid-19 interrupted school year were additional challenges which Pretect overcame. The delighted College Principal, Kimberley Tempest says, “When I dreamt about it, I had a bit of a picture in my mind – this has turned out better! We remain thrilled with the building. Not only does it contain functional and modern teaching and learning spaces, our students and staff are immensely proud of the ‘new look’ school.”

The new building brings together the following elements:

A Staff and Administration area situated on the Warkil St frontage and designed as the preferred entry point for school visitors. It comprises:

  • A large entry and reception area which also serves as a security/visual check point with direct access to senior staff offices and interview rooms. This provides privacy for users as access to the counselling, interview and office spaces can be done without entering the general school areas.
  • Staff amenities, Staff Lounge and Work Area, a senior student lobby, DDA Compliant amenities and storage areas are located behind the admin area and accessed via three separate entrances leading to all other parts of the school. Visual supervision of internal school areas, the main school entrance and the bus interchange is provided for staff through north, east and south facing windows along with egress points in each direction.
  • The combination of quiet working spaces, private meeting rooms and offices fits the brief of this area being primarily for the use of senior students, recognising their growing independence and ability to collaborate with both student and staff colleagues. It also provides the option of breakout spaces, small group instruction and informal gatherings.
  • The proximity of the Student Lobby and Staff Areas fits the brief regarding the school’s community engagement and hosting role for community events. Various combinations of these spaces can be used for multiple purposes, with secure after-hours access.

The General Purpose Classroom and Food Technology Room are located on the western end of the Admin block with views to, and access from, the newly opened up passive play spaces to the west of the other school wings.

  • The GPLA takes into account the needs of senior secondary students and their preferred learning modes. Provision of operable glass walls is a consideration which would allow for multiple, simultaneous uses and its location next to the Staff Lounge, staff toilets and the Food Tech/Dining Area makes this a self-contained event space suitable for exams, tutorials and after-hours gatherings.
  • The Food Technology Area incorporates the school’s preferred instructional model with combinations of workstations, whole group teaching and demonstration areas. Ample storage is provided which has external access to the adjacent driveway for deliveries etc. A laundry, food prep and withdrawal space are provided directly off the Food Technology area.
  • The combination Dining Room, Teaching Area and event space is situated between the GPLA and Food Tech Room. This, again, provides a multiple use dimension and the ability to open up or close down into different permutations of the entry lobby, GPLA, Dining and Food Tech spaces. This degree of flexibility assists in meeting the school’s focus on collaborative learning and meeting the social, emotional and individual learning needs of students.

A Staff Work Prep area/ VCE Centre located adjacent to the GPLA and Staff Lounge responds to the school planning committee suggestion regarding senior student/staff collaboration and to ensure that the Year 12 areas are all together whilst the Year 7-11s have a separate access point.

The Canteen and Student Toilets are on the western end of the building, located centrally to the other school wings, on the site of the demolished Block B. This opens up the internal area of the school and provides passive play spaces close to classroom wings, preserves the existing undercover areas and gives greater visual supervision across the whole site.

  • A window style servery frees internal canteen space to allow for a dedicated canteen workers’ toilet, change area and storage.
  • Unisex toilet facilities are located adjacent to the canteen and accessed via the existing covered walkways from the rest of the school.

A Passive Play and Gathering Space has been created on the site of the demolished Block B, sitting between the two existing covered areas, and connecting with the canteen and toilets. This “village square” area provides a central, internal yard connection to all areas of the school, including the bus interchange, and clear sightlines for visual supervision.

External and internal building access is DDA compliant providing level, safe access to all areas. The adjoining landscaping reflects the existing open vistas whilst offering an attractive focal area enclosed by the school buildings, which now form a visual barrier to and shelter from the street.

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