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New school gets top marks for sustainability

Schools

The new McAuley Community School at Hove will be the first primary school in Australia to be designed and built with a six star rating when it is completed in time for the start of the 2020 school year.

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The $22m state-of-the-art Catholic primary school will be co-located with one of the first Alive Catholic Early Care and Learning Centres in South Australia, catering for up to 90 children aged five and under.

Principal Amanda Parslow said enrolments for the Reception to Year 6 school had already exceeded initial expectations with ongoing daily inquiries.

With the majority of students from St Teresa’s School at Brighton transitioning to the new site and the Reception intake currently at 69, the total enrolments to date are 339.

Architect Kon Michael said the project would be the first six star and highest green star school project in the State with one of the lowest energy consumptions based on innovative systems being implemented.

Much of the current work is focused on potentially transitioning McAuley to a zero carbon energy position. The energy efficient systems will reduce the operational costs such as electricity to below that of a normal residential home.

Green Star assesses and rates buildings and fit-outs against a range of environmental impact categories including transport, management, indoor environment quality, energy, water, materials, land use and ecology and emissions.

Mrs Parslow said the rating was significant from the Catholic perspective of wanting to make a difference in the world and the development of “thriving leaders and capable learners who will be the leaders of sustainable practices in the future”.

“The students are already learning about the materials used in the build, the solar panels, the tanks collecting rainwater, but also about why we have them and the impact of how we use our resources,” she said.

“And we plan to have a range of initiatives that demonstrate our commitment to ecology such as a Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program, school environment group, recycling and nude food lunchboxes.

“The landscapers will create the space for vegie gardens and chook houses but we want the students to be involved in what to plant and which chooks to breed.”

She said all the elements of the project were coming together with the support of Catholic Education SA.

“We’re moving into the period of St Teresa’s finishing, and there’s a sense of sadness about that, but there is also a real sense of excitement.

“There will be opportunities in Term 4 for classes to come and spend a day at McAuley and information forums for parents are continuing.”

Mrs Parslow said it was a privilege to work with the community of St Teresa’s and its principal Peter Mercer to ensure its “rich tradition of community” was carried over to McAuley Community School.

The co-location of the Alive Early Learning Centre meant that families would be able to have one pathway and one drop-off for their children from the very beginning.

“Lots of families are very excited about the announcement that it will be for 0-5 year olds,” she said.

“We will have a shared leadership approach and there will be opportunities for collaboration such as children from the centre coming to assemblies, buddy reading and other shared activities.”

The new school is being built by Mossop Construction + Interior on the site of the former Marymount College, which merged with Sacred Heart College last year. The existing gymnasium, music suites and art studio have been retained.

Designed with flexible spaces that can be adapted to suit specific education needs, the school will have an inquiry focus on learning, specialising in STEM thinking, as well as specialist arts facilities.

It is expected to grow to cater for 530 students.

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