Vertical lab a feature of Ballarat Clarendon College's new science centre

BALLARAT Clarendon College’s new $7.658 million science centre is beginning to take shape, with the frame up and plans for the internal design unfolding. 

Exhibition Studios managing director Karl Meyer inspects progress on the Ballarat Clarendon College science centre. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

Exhibition Studios managing director Karl Meyer inspects progress on the Ballarat Clarendon College science centre. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

A feature of the science centre will include a vertical laboratory, designed by Exhibition Studios managing director Karl Meyer, who has worked around the world on science centres and museums, including Canberra’s Questacon. 

The V-Lab will be nine metres high and students can operate from three levels in the laboratory. 

“Pre-schoolers will be able to come and drop patty-cake pans and see how they fall and have it explained to them, and senior students will able to do much more advanced experiments,” Mr Meyer said.

He jumped on board with the project two years ago, designing the V-Lab as the hero piece of the building. 

He said it was the only vertical laboratory he knew of on this scale in Australia. 

“The only one I know of that is like this is in Britain,” he said. 

“Infrastructure has been getting a bit lost in schools, but this centre will be a celebration of what schools can offer students.”

He said there would be a vacuum tube and drop tubes inside the V-Lab.

“They’ll do so many experiments and work beyond text books and theory,” he said. 

“It’s not the same magic you get from reading a textbook compared with conducting experiments.”

Mr Meyer said it wasn’t just an area for physics experiments, but all things science including chemistry and biology. 

The complex will include eight classrooms, five laboratories, an 80-seat lecture theatre, a vertical laboratory and a Foucault Pendulum

Four houses owned by the school along Ajax Street were demolished to make space for the centre. 

School principal David Shepherd said he was  excited about the building and what it would offer the students. 

“Science is an important part of the curriculum, so we want to provide our students with state-of-the-art facilities to practise that.”

He said the school was collaborating with University of Melbourne professor Roger Rassool on experiments in extracting water from air. 

Deputy principal Jan McClure said the centre would give the school the opportunity to collaborate with scientists outside its community. 

“It has been decades since our original labs were built in the McKinnon Wing.

“We could have given that a small renovation but we decided to build a new science centre.”

nicole.cairns@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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