Mount Clear College's year seven and eight students are eagerly watching the demolition and reconstruction of their junior school.
As part of ongoing works to refurbish the school, Nicholson Construction is stripping back the existing 1970s-era concrete building to its shell and reconfiguring classrooms, study spaces and staff areas to bring the learning spaces into the 21st century.
The project also upgrades the bushfire safety level of the buildings, which back onto the heavily forested Woowookarung Regional Park.
Previously clad in wood the building, when completed, will be covered in non-combustible cladding and all windows are being replaced.
The upstairs of the two-storey building will remain as classrooms in the same layout but with new finishings and windows, while the entire ground floor is being remodelled to include food technology rooms, new classrooms, a junior STEM centre, staff workspaces, break out spaces for students and a more open feel compared to the old building.
An existing dance studio is being retained with works going on around it.
"Looking out onto the trees, one of the best things about this block in particular is it has such a good aspect to the forest," said architect Nick Bergin from Tectura Architects. "There will be areas off the side of classrooms where, if the weather is nice, they can spill out into learning spaces outside."
Works on the $5.5 million project are expected to finish next June but some areas including classrooms could be available for use earlier when they are finished, to take the pressure off other locations around the school where classes are being held while the junior school is redeveloped.
Mount Clear College principal Lynita Taylor said the overhaul of the year seven and eight area of the school was long overdue.
"It had just been let go for so long. People had tried to do bits but there was no consistent approach on how you rebuild this to its glory days," she said.
"It was a magnificent building that when it was built, people from around Australia and even overseas would come to see it ... but over time its maintenance has become too hard."
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With lockers previously lining corridors and little space for students to relax Ms Taylor said it had become crowded and uninviting but the overhaul would create fresh, new and inspiring learning spaces.
The junior school redevelopment comes just months after the college's senior school rebuild was completed, giving year 12 students new classrooms, science labs and art rooms, and study spaces.