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27 Nov 2017

The future of NSW's classrooms

The NSW Government is now mapping out a large scale redesign of future classrooms by calling for submissions for prefabricated designs to replace old style demountables which can also serve as durable long-term structures. Education Minister Rob Stokes urged the building and construction industry to develop classrooms that don't take long to build, but are also multipurpose and and employ a mix of building materials. We're looking for innovative designs that will deliver high-quality classrooms that are great spaces to learn while remaining flexible for a public education, he stated. We need to be able to construct permanent buildings which are responsive to demand and growth in student populations. While the the policy is still in the works, the proposal projects a estimation of $2 billion. This could decrease the amount of demountables in NSW by 4000 through prefab structures, also known as modern modular buildings. According to the government, the building type should be agile enough to cater for schools, halls and libraries, since Sydney is currently experiencing steep population growth. There is a series of possible designs for these buildings, such as multi-storey models that can improve the single shed-style option. Sydney's 2006 baby boom and parents growing inclination towards public education has resulted in an estimated multi-billion dollar funding deficit for the education department. This is aggravated by the projected figure of 175,000 students reached by 2030. The inability to accurately anticipate student growth has resulted in the misconception that 6000 demountable classrooms will have to be built across the state. As many parents deem demountables as unfavourable and uncomfortable, the government is set to change this presumption. The projects have been trialed with much success in Melbourne, which is also experiencing great population growth. High-tech prefabricated buildings which are covered in wooden skin is set to pave way for the wave of new classrooms. The plan is to implement half-dozen example projects early next year on high demountable schools and then further ramp up over 2019 and 2020, it is said.
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