Stonefields Primary is a new school in a new suburb. As such, it functions not only as an educational facility, but also as a pivotal gathering point for the local community. Therefore it was imperative the overall design reflected the school’s central location within a purpose-made subdivision.
The school is designed and delivered in two stages, with stage one was a double storey, 3320m2 building completed in 2010, while stage two is a single storey 1500m2 building completed in 2014. The school has been arranged with teaching spaces grouped around a sheltered, central courtyard. Internally, the school features open hubs of three learning spaces; library and multi-purpose hall, administration, staff and reception area.
The school is the first of the recent new primary schools to fully adopt the open plan learning approach and also the first Primary School to achieve a NZGBC 5 Green Star rating for Education Design.
Stonefields Principal Sarah Martin and the Establishment Board of Trustees wanted to create a school where learning could take place in an open, social and authentic way. On completion, Sarah Martin said the building provides highly visible learning areas, open to the community and to the introduction of social and new media.
“We have spaces and equipment for the maximum possible collaboration by pupils and teachers. Openness, trust and rigor are our keynotes and we asked ourselves ‘What’s worth learning now in this exponential age….not just topics but concepts like self, sustainability, change, and measurement’”.
With the success of stage one, there was enthusiasm to complete the second stage – where the Stonefields Board of Trustees wanted the modern learning environment concept pushed to another level.
The single level building incorporates interconnecting, informal, generous and open plan hubs. One of the hubs in the heart of the building is to accommodate a satellite unit of the Sommerville Special Needs School.
Stonefields Primary School meets the Ministry of Educations Designing Quality Learning Spaces (DQLS) standards. Learning areas are filled with natural light, ventilation is easily controlled with high and low level windows, walls and floors and ceilings all have acoustic linings, and each space has a built in sound field system.