We head to Yarrabilba, Queensland where the brand-new South Rock State School has brought life into the growing community.
With a population of over 10,000, the 10-year-old community of Yarrabilba is set to grow rapidly over the coming years. This opens many opportunities within the education community to ensure future generations of local children have state-of-the-art facilities to learn and grow.
This year, South Rock State School opened their doors to 82 students to stage one of their inspiring new build. They are expecting steady growth each term and will continue to infill learning areas in stage two and three based on the enrolments each year.
Spread across seven hectares South Rock State School has a strong connection and respect for the land and its location next to a natural sandstone outcrop that holds significant cultural importance to the Traditional Custodians of Country, reflected throughout with colour, and the embedding of Aboriginal artwork commissioned by the school within its designs.
The project team at South Rock State School led the design process. When sourcing a furniture supplier, the team considered suppliers who could add value to the holistic design approach and be involved in the end-to-end execution. This enabled Sebel to deliver a strong school brand through a deep connection to community, country, values, sustainability and most importantly by improving learning outcomes for their students.
The classrooms necessitated flexible furniture so students and teachers could move around the room based on the learning modes required. Additionally, office and administration furniture needed to be functional with a professional, clean look. Importantly, the School needed quality furniture that would stand the test of time.
In the lead up to finding the right supplier, the team undertook research based on recommendations from other schools on furniture that would meet all their requirements. They visited neighbouring schools to see the physical products and test how they held up in the classroom. Ultimately, after their product testing and meeting the Sebel project team, they chose to work with Sebel for the fit out.
When carefully selecting the products to go into the learning spaces, breakout spaces and staff spaces, the South Rock State School team were very clear that they required the furniture to be customisable so that the commissioned artwork “Ngullingi (Us)”, by contemporary Mununjali and Wangerriburra artist Waylene Currie, could be featured.
Incorporating “Ngullingi (Us)” into Design
The collaboration between South Rock State School, Waylene Currie, and Sebel was a significant milestone in the representation of Indigenous culture in educational settings, as it resulted in the creation of a unique and culturally significant range of furniture designs that incorporated traditional Aboriginal art and motifs.
To ensure they were able to embed the artwork “Ngullingi (Us)’ in a culturally appropriate way within the design and reflect the school colours through the artwork, South Rock State School worked very closely with artist Waylene Currie, following a recommendation from an Elder in the community.
Waylene Currie drew on her extensive knowledge of Aboriginal art and design and personal experience to create a range of designs for furniture that were not only functional but also visually striking. The designs incorporated traditional Aboriginal motifs that represent the land, animals, and other elements of the natural world.
The artwork piece represents the Jagun (Country) that South Rock State School is built on and its relationship to the Gugingin, Mununjali and Wangerriburra Peoples of the Yugambeh Language Group who share stories and connections to this Country.
Sustainability is an important practice throughout South Rock State School, having specific rubbish and recycling bins to teach the students the proper way to recycle being just one of their great initiatives. So, when a Sebel representative approached the team with the opportunity to replace their currently ordered Postura Max for Sebel’s new Recycled Postura Max, they were thrilled. The slate colourway on offer complemented their colour scheme and worked well to tie in with the “Ngullingi (Us) artwork. The teachers have loved being able to tell the students how their classroom chairs were selected to align with their sustainable practices.
Working closely with the schools’ project team, Sebel presented a proposal with furniture options and colour palettes to suit. Rooms were designed in 3D so the school could visualise floorplans and how the furniture would sit in varying learning spaces.
Once the products, pricing and floor plans had been confirmed, the Sebel service delivery team were able to get the order and a final date for the fit out scheduled. They would continue to work and communicate closely with the school until all the furniture had been delivered.
Despite some complications with the delivery initially, the team at South Rock State School were happy with the way that Sebel dealt with these issues. The open communication between Sebel and South Rock State School was integral in coming to a reasonable solution.
When delivering the furniture, the Sebel team were friendly and helpful to the staff members on site, allowing the installation to move ahead smoothly and quickly.
“The teachers love the Sebel products in their classrooms” Principal Aaron Jones says, “They are particularly happy with the Create-A-Cart and the whiteboard finishes on all the tabletops”. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for stage two of this state-of-the-art educational facility and how the community flourishes as a result.
The school opted for tiered seating in their senior spaces
Sebel's Smart Softies™ are available in a range of colours
|South Rock State School www.southrockss.eq.edu.au
|Senior Design and Project Officer
|Waylene Currie – WRLC Arts www.facebook.com/wrlcarts