Williamstown High School, Bayview Campus Redevelopment

Location \ Bayview Street, Williamstown, Victoria
Client \ Williamstown High School
Consultants \ Spowers, JMP Consulting, Lincolne Scott, CJ Arms, Donald Cant Watts Corke, SCA Partner, Wilsmore Nelson

In 2005, the Department of Education, the Victorian Government and the Williamstown High School community committed to redevelop a public secondary school that was to be a model school for environmental education, both in its built form and in the curriculum offered to students. The school’s vision for this project was threefold:

  • To take up the challenge of providing for a sustainable future
  • To build an outstanding Middle Years School for environmental education
  • To inspire involvement in environmental programs that will engender excitement, pride and knowledge of Victoria’s environment.

Our challenge was to not only design an environmentally sustainable campus, but to use the build environment as a learning resource for the students. This concept informed every stage of the design process and enhanced rather than inhibited the final outcome. Some of the ways this was achieved are as follows:

  • Providing a highly visible non-PVC rainwater collection system, used for toilet flushing and irrigation.
  • Designing vegetable gardens and composting facilities.
  • Creating a landscape journey via indigenous coastal planting through the site and a wetland to provide a direct link between the school and local ecologies.

A measure of this project’s achievement is that it has been selected as one of six educational facilities in Australia to be used as a pilot project for the new GBCA Green Star Education Rating Tool. It is the only example of a built school utilising the tool and was designed when the Green Star Office Tool was in its infancy. The development and implementation of WHS has been a catalyst for change in the Victorian public school community. The utilisation of passive environmental principles and well-tested elements used in innovative ways, rather than cutting edge technologies, has provided an accessible and economical model for use in future schools. The wide ranging publicity and interest in the school demonstrates the extent to which this building project has engaged the community. WHS has been featured in local newspapers and has been presented at various forums including the Green Cities Conference (Sydney) 2008, RMIT Sustainable Design Conference 2007 and the AGM of Secondary School Principals 2008.