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The future of city schools

31 Aug 2016

Docklands is still awaiting news of when and if it will get a local school, but one thing is for sure – a Docklands school will certainly be of the vertical variety.

With Victoria only just beginning to explore the possibilities of vertical schooling, we have a lot to learn from countries like Japan, where 99 per cent of schools are vertical.

Hiroshi Miyakawa, executive and design fellow of Nikken Sekkei, the third-largest architecture practice in the world, spoke on the topic of vertical schools at a Property Council of Australia event last month.

Mr Miyakawa explained the “magic number” for vertical schools in Japan was four, because students could comfortably traverse four stories via stairs.

He said wide stairs and slopes were also important to allow for movement of groups of students through the school.

Derek Scott, principal of Melbourne CBD’s first vertical school Haileybury on King St, joined Mr Miyakawa at the event.

Haileybury’s early learning centre program has already started at the CBD school, with years prep to 9 to begin at the start of next year and years 10 to 12 rolling out over the following years.

Formerly an office building, Haileybury purchased the 10-storey school site for $50 million and spent $25 million fitting it out.

Mr Scott said the building would feature 1500sqm of active indoor recreation space, 2500sqm of outdoor recreation space, 2000sqm of art, music and drama space and 1000sqm of science, engineering, technology and mathematics floor space.

Senior students will also have access to Flagstaff Gardens, located opposite the school building, while Mr Scott said the school would also utilise other facilities around Melbourne.

“A great feature of this building for conversion to a school is that almost all of the classrooms lookout over Flagstaff gardens,” Mr Scott commented.

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