Loreto College in South Australia has unveiled its new state-of-the-art Science Centre, which was officially opened by Federal Member for Sturt, The Hon Christopher Pyne MP.
The centre incorporates five laboratories, multiple breakout informal learning areas, including an undercover outdoor learning space that extends onto an existing Indigenous garden and grass amphitheater.
Loreto College Principal Nicole Archard said the Centre’s building design and construction created an additional learning experience for girls as well as challenging the gender stereotype that science is a boys’ subject.
“We saw the Science Centre development as a unique opportunity to teach girls about engineering and construction. One of the unique elements is the fact that all services and structural beams have been left exposed to allow the girls to see and learn how the various services function as well as understand the structural elements of the building. This way, the building itself becomes part of the learning process,” Dr Archard said.
“The Centre also provides many other learning experiences. Lights have been designed to represent chemical compounds and the laboratories and breakout areas have write-on walls, allowing girls to work collaboratively as well as share their learning. The laboratories also have glass walls so that the teaching and learning of science is showcased to all students.”
The Science Centre was designed by South Australian-based MPH Architects and a female structural engineer was engaged to oversee the project.
“We specifically selected a female engineer, from Wallbridge Gilbert Aztec, in an effort to demonstrate to our students the excellent career pathways available to them,” Dr Archard said.
“It’s incredibly important for girls to have positive female role models and understand the diverse range of career opportunities available to them even in traditionally male-dominated industries.
“We hope the new Science Centre not only inspires the next generation of female scientists but also engineers and architects.”
The new Science Centre complements the college’s art, music, physical education, drama and digital technology facilities.
Dr Archard said the school was committed to providing students with a holistic education.
“STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education is undoubtedly important to Australia’s future industries but the most important thing to us at Loreto is to provide girls with a holistic education so they can discover what they are passionate about and develop skills and knowledge across a range of fields, which will serve them well in the future,” she said.