Ballarat Tech School at Fed Uni is on track to open next year

ON TRACK: Nicholson Construction project manager Stephen Allen explains the layout of classrooms and other spaces as he shows off construction progress on the new Ballarat Tech School. Picture: Lachlan Bence
ON TRACK: Nicholson Construction project manager Stephen Allen explains the layout of classrooms and other spaces as he shows off construction progress on the new Ballarat Tech School. Picture: Lachlan Bence

Ballarat Tech School is on track to open for the start of the new school year in 2018.

A glowing atrium will change the facade of the Albert St building and welcome up to 200 students at a time through its doors.

A sneak peek at construction progress has revealed construction is well underway on the project with builders confident the building will be delivered on its scheduled December 20 handover date.

Nicholson Construction project manager Stephen Allen said refurbishment works on the Albert St building were progressing well.

“All the services are in, walls are plastered, window frames are in, glass being installed, and painting and joining will start in two weeks,” he said.

“It’s a tight timeline on the project but we are in a good position at the moment.”

The Ballarat Tech School development is part of a $128 million state government initiative to create 10 tech schools across Victoria.

​A large steel learning tree fitted with LED lights branches through the two storeys of learning spaces with seating around its base and breakout areas surrounding its limbs upstairs.

Walls and classroom partitions are in, ceiling treatments ready for installation, and builders have replaced half of the roof sheeting and are installing solar panels to cover the entire roof.

“The amount of power those solar panels will produce will most likely see this building put power back in to the grid as well as power the building so will probably be an ongoing cost benefit,” Mr Allen said.

The high-tech building also has an audio-visual system and technology fit-out that Mr Allen said would rival any other building in the city.

Demolition work on the interior of the existing building began in June.

Ballarat Tech School associate director Sofia Fiusco said the school could cater for 200 students at any one time and would work with all 15 secondary colleges in the region.

Large classrooms will cater for teaching programs across five industry areas: food and fibre, health science, IT, advanced manufacturing and new energy.

“A big part of looking at the spaces is making sure they are multi-purpose so as the needs of industry adapt and change we can factor that in to what we do,” Ms Fiusco said.

Schools will elect the programs they want to be part of and bring students in to the tech school for the day.

“The focus will be on learning in a very visual way in terms of what they can see and be inspired by, who they are working with, and learning from each other. It will be very open and transparent and reflect what workplaces look like and how they function.”