Principal’s Message

Helix Opening
Home of Science Mathematics and Years 9 and 10

Winston Churchill said, “we shape our buildings and thereafter they shape us” and it was with that thought in mind that we commenced the planning for this facility over three and a half years ago. Today, Friday 2 June 2017, we officially opened Helix and handed over the keys to our wonderful students and amazing teachers.

From the moment we saw the design proposal that Jack Birrrell and his team put together it was clear that they were on our wavelength and understood what we wanted from our new building. A building that nurtures two subjects that, given the global focus on the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, are so important. The College team that first came together in September 2013 were determined that this building was to be aspirational, inspirational, and nurturing of the spirit, the learning and the values we hold dear at Scotch Oakburn College.

When you are next on campus, I encourage you to look beyond the spaces to see a host of key design elements that have been incorporated in to this building; all of which, research and our own experience confirms their positive impact on learning:

• The internal spaces are flooded with natural light;
• The lighting that is used is soft ‘up-down’ lighting that is gentle on the eyes;
• There are views to nature and the distance from nearly every learning studio;
• The circulation of fresh air ensures that optimal oxygen levels are maintained throughout the day;
• The façade is not only an amazing artistic installation with its sine and cosine waves forming the double helix of our own DNA, but it allows natural light to stream in to the building while stopping direct glare that interferes with ambient temperature control; and
• That temperature regulation is via radiant panels that heat surfaces uniformly rather than heat pumps that assault you with hot or cold air.

In addition to those key design features:

• Existing buildings were recycled to minimise costs which is very important, not only for budgetary reasons but also because it is essential that we live out our care for the environment and lead by example;
• There is a lot of internal glass so that the learning is on show to those who wander through, learning that has the power to intrigue and excite the viewer as well as the learner; and
• Spaces have been intentionally created that enable multiple uses so that we get maximum use out of them, without compromising functionality.

Our students deserve the very best that we can provide and we should be unashamedly aspirational for them. What has been achieved by the combined efforts of:

• the Board of Governance – led ostensibly through this project by the now retired Chairperson, Chris Arnott;
• The Facilities and Infrastructure Committee;
• the very generous donors to this project and the Foundation;
• the College’s Project Control Group;
• Project Manager – Patrick Stanton;
• Architects – Birrelli;
• the builders – Macquarie Builders; and
• our own Works and Grounds Teams……
is an amazing facility for our students that is second to none.

I could not be happier with the spaces that have been created for our students to learn, imagine, dream, create, design and construct in. Yes, there are similar projects around the country that have bigger budgets but nothing I have seen goes close to achieving what this building does.

I know that our students will make the most of these incredible facilities. Our future agronomists, medical practitioners, scientists, engineers, researchers and indeed even our molecular gastronomists, will all thank us for the opportunities this amazing building provided them.

Andy Müller