The SEMZ team were delighted to attend the recent opening ceremony for Wurun Senior Campus.

Designed by GHD Woodhead and built by BESIX Watpac, the brand new vertical school is the senior campus for Collingwood College and Fitzroy High School students boasting state of the art facilities in an urban location.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews spoke of the long path travelled to bring this project to realisation.  ‘I’m delighted to be here today at Wurun Senior Campus, in a partnership where people have achieved amazing things. It is a ten year partnership, probably seems a lot longer for those who’ve been at the forefront of it.’

The campus is located in the City of Yarra, where close to 10% of residents currently live in social housing – representing the highest number and proportion in Victoria.  Reflecting on demographics in the area, Daniel Andrews spoke of the significance of this campus in improving opportunities and outcomes.   ‘A lot of people in inner city communities do it tough.  These buildings are more than just a place of learning.  They are a launchpad, a centre of opportunity and delivery, a centre of hope and optimism’.

In summing up the vision for the Wurun campus and the goal for all schools in Victoria, Daniel Andrews addressed the students. ‘To the students here, I want for you what I want for my kids.  I want you to dream big, to do big things and reach your potential.  Our job is to remove all barriers and give you a free run at that.  I reckon you’re very well placed here. This is unique, it is spectacular.  It’s an amazing building, and so it should be.’

With capacity for up to 650 students, the Wurun campus caters predominantly for Year 11 and 12 students from both schools studying VCE, VET or VCAL subjects.

The extensive new facilities, delivered within a contemporary design, will provide students with greater choice of senior programs and subjects, with a focus on building 21st century skills.

The campus also eases enrolment pressures from population growth in Melbourne’s inner north. Collingwood College and Fitzroy High School will be able to enrol extra Years 10–12 students at the new campus and more younger students at their existing sites.

James Merlino, Minister for Education, addressed the opening ceremony, speaking of the experience of interacting with students on site at the new campus. ‘I spoke to one student who told me that the subjects are the same, the content’s the same, but she can focus on her subject here.  She takes joy out of the learning and the opportunity of moving around the different spaces both inside and outside. That’s the trick – the most important this is the quality of teaching and learning, but the very best design makes teaching and learning easier, it makes teaching and learning a joy.’

For the SEMZ team, the Wurun campus project has been an intense and exciting project to work on.  From the very beginning, the Project Team and Stakeholders were significantly challenged by program, budget and funding issues.  This project required grit, flexibility and innovation from all involved to deliver.  It was great to have that acknowledged by the Premier in opening the school.  The project’s timely completion wouldn’t have been possible had we stuck with the standard and traditional approaches, with SEMZ having to navigate and adapt to the changing project landscape.  SEMZ is proud to have worked so effectively in collaboration with the VSBA, the State Government and the wider Project Team to ensure successful delivery for day one, term one 2022.

SEMZ Senior Project Manager, Will Mackintosh spoke of his experience in managing the Wurun project.  ‘It’s been an immensely rewarding three years of working on this project for the Victorian School Building Authority.
Managing the design and construction of the tallest public vertical school in Victoria has had its challenges, but the team of GHDWoodhead and BESIX Watpac have been phenomenal in their efforts, as shown by this incredible end product.
It has been great to see the campus evolve from the early sketches right up to seeing the students using the facilities in their day to day learning. In terms of professional fulfilment, this project experience and outcome is hard to beat.’