Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

Snells Beach School, Snells Beach,Warkworth, New Zealand

Exemplary design categories: flexible learning settings, green school

How the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
The school comprises five single-storey classroom blocks. Each single-storey teaching block incorporates two classrooms and professional work spaces that teachers use for planning and administrative purposes. They have been designed to facilitate a range of pedagogies and incorporate very large “wet spaces” for art and other messy activities. There is wireless access from all areas, both inside and outside the buildings. There are no built-in cabinetry or fixed furniture in any of the classrooms. Each room is a blank open space that can be set up in a way that suits the children and their teacher. This allows teachers and students to group tables for co-operative learning in all classrooms as there are no restrictions on positioning. The shared spaces in each block allow both classes to interact by sliding back the doors to the classrooms. The school hall and library are positioned separately around an outdoor central courtyard, which has become the heart of the school and a favourite area for children to meet and play. The library is large enough to accommodate two classes and allows for small groups to work independently. The classrooms are designed for excellent airflow and passive heating. Windows are at student height in all rooms, so that when children are seated they can see outside. Large overhangs provide shade to the classrooms in summer, but allow for sun in winter. They also provide shelter from the wind and rain so that shoes and bags can be left outside. The building materials are natural and soft-looking. Recycled concrete and other environmentally sensitive materials have been used in the construction. The colour scheme has been selected to reflect and blend with the local flora and fauna and the beach. Smart technology is used to turn lights off in rooms where no movement is detected. Rainwater is collected and filtered for use in flush toilets and for outdoor irrigation. Snells Beach School has a strong community Focus. People in the community are invited into the school to assist with literacy and gardening programmes.

Activity Areas: For each of the 5 blocks, there are 2 classrooms, 2 support rooms, 1 shared space and covered porches

Project costs: NZD 10,500,000.00

Source: "Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011"

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User perspectives (1)

The design has served us well, with the teaching spaces providing very effective and comfortable learning environments. Our imagery and core values have been reflected in the design, so it has been easy to reinforce these concepts with the students and the parent community, resulting in a great sense of ownership and pride."
Jill Corkin, principal, Snells Beach School

Images (5)

Drawings (3)

classroom floor plan &cross section (Registration required)
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library floor plan & cross section (Registration required)
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site plan (Registration required)
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