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No time or space to waste: A new lease on learning for Bacchus Marsh Grammar

In 2021, Bacchus Marsh Grammar (BMG) found themselves significantly short on classroom and office space for the new year – with no time to build more.

But by the start of 2022, their four brand-new classrooms and mixed use double story building gave each member of the staff and student body a place to learn and grow.

We caught up with BMG’s Property Manager, Nam-Ha Quach, to talk more about what these pods bring to their school community: academically, functionally and psychologically.

No time to waste

Towards the end of each school year, it comes time to begin planning for the next one. However, when Nam-Ha Quach and the team at BMG sat down to begin their preparations, they noticed a big problem.

“Once we did our calculations, we found that we were significantly short on space for the following year,” Nam-Ha explains.

In dire need of a quality product on a tight deadline, BMG approached Harwyn.

“We had a desperate need for some extra classrooms. We’d done some previous business with Harwyn, and it was clear that no one else would be able to deliver on time,” Nam-Ha continues. “Not even close.”

Big things in small packages

BMG’s space issue wasn’t only about the amount of people per classroom. The physical space for more buildings in the school was also limited – especially since BMG didn’t want to encroach on the student’s recreational areas.

“The brief we gave Harwyn was to ensure that a particular square meterage was accommodated internally. It was around the 80m2 mark.”

“We really needed the space to have a minimal footprint on the play area for the kids,” says Nam-Ha. “So we knew that one of the pods needed to be double-storey.”

With the top floor being used for offices, and the downstairs area being the meeting and tutorial rooms, this pod has proven to be the perfect multipurpose space – in both design and function.

The ‘new kid’ fits in

Once the size of the pods was established, it was up to the design and delivery team to decide on the rest of the product’s features.

“We knew what we needed the spaces for,” Nam-Ha explains. “And Harwyn delivered that part of the brief, while providing us with a space that looks amazing – and not like a tacked-on afterthought.”

One of these design decisions was to use external stairs (rather than internal) for the double-storey arrangement.

“That had a lot to do with the footprint space, but the external stairs also really suited the school’s aesthetic,” says Nam-Ha.

“We wanted to make sure that the pods themselves fit the environment and looked like they were always designed to be there. And, without a shadow of a doubt, Harwyn executed that perfectly.”

The most popular pods in school

If you ask Nam-Ha, the most important stakeholders for products like these are the end users. In this case? The teachers and students.

“We need to make sure that teachers are comfortable while they’re teaching. Not too hot, not too cold, plenty of space, plenty of light. The same goes for the students trying to learn,” he remarks.

So: what do these top stakeholders think about their new spaces?

“Those rooms are highly sought after, to the point where teachers are requesting to be in them. And the students really do love those pods. They have a snuggly feel – they’re warm, comfortable and inviting.”

Nam-ha also notes just how quiet their new double-storey building is.

“Downstairs can’t hear upstairs, and upstairs can’t hear downstairs. If you’re on the bottom floor, you wouldn’t hear someone above even if they were stomping.”

From partnership to friendship

These four new pods aren’t the first products BMG has welcomed onto its grounds utilising offsite construction with Harwyn.

In fact, BMG now has four distinct Harwyn products – with their four classrooms and their double-storey multi-use building joining their existing seven music pods.

“Time and time again we’ve come back to Harwyn,” says Nam-Ha. “And that’s because of the quality of their product, and how pleasant they are to work with.”

“I deal with a lot of subcontractors, and I can definitely say that Harwyn’s team stands out for their friendliness and efficiency.

“There’s no question that we will continue working with Harwyn moving forward. And if any other schools out there are considering working with Harwyn: don’t hesitate.”

Is your school in need of some extra space? Harwyn can deliver a beautiful space – or several – with a short turnaround.

To learn more, call 1300 HARWYN (1300 427 996) or enquire now.

See more photos of this project HERE.