Senior students at St Leonard’s College in Melbourne returned to school this year to discover a new educational environment that takes secondary education to the next level.
Officially opened by Jennifer Neate (Chair of College Council) and Stuart Davis (Principal) at the end of January 2020, the new St Leonard’s College Senior School building ‘Merton’ creates a new benchmark in educational spaces.
“I am delighted by the way in which the spaces effectively support the social, emotional and academic wellbeing of our students and staff. These new learning environments also honour the pedagogical approaches that support the 21st Century cultures of learning that we have developed through our significant and multifaceted partnership with Harvard’s Project Zero,” said Mr Davis.
The ‘Inspiring Innovations’ development was designed by ARM, built by ADCO and project managed by Coffey. Ian McDougall, Founding Director, ARM said, “The new Merton building has state-of-the-art learning spaces for senior students. It introduces them to the informal atmosphere they will experience at tertiary level, where learning is more self-directed and there are places to work in groups. The ambience is different: it feels like a pedagogical community rather than a traditional teaching space.
“The interiors are inspired by the great College buildings, warm and welcoming but backgrounded with the latest technology. As well, the building’s layout makes a range of public spaces for all the school. It embraces the historic Harefield House and creates a College plaza, the Agora, where it connects with the soon-to-be-complete Leonardian Centre.”
Merton features a tertiary style lecturette, 11 break out learning spaces, nine collaborative study nooks, a collaborative community common area, a custom-built examination space and a new senior school cafeteria. The building was named ‘Merton’ as it was built on the original site of the Merton Hospital (1907-1954), and the Merton Gallery and classrooms (1955-2018).
In the pursuit of educational excellence and innovation, St Leonard’s College lays claim to many firsts. The first single-sex independent school in the state to introduce co-education. The first Victorian school to introduce the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. The first and only Australian school invited to engage in the OECD 2030 Project – The Future of Education. These new learning environments that develop the essential life skills of critical thinking, collaboration and creativity are yet another first for this dynamic and progressive College.