It is a fact that many of our country’s school infrastructure, were built decades ago. The design of these buildings does not follow today’s concepts for educating our students. At the same time, there is a history behind the building itself, which one needs to preserve. This poses an architectural challenge which can only be overcome with well-planning and creative architecture.
Modern educational facilities should incorporate the use of more open spaces where students can enjoy the environment during breaks and between lessons, and the building itself should include features and technologies which environmental sustainability and climate change dictate.
TheJournal.mt looks at three of Malta’s newest projects currently under execution for the creation of modern educational facilities.
Gozo’s Victoria Primary and Middle School
The €10 million investment in the Victoria College Primary School and Middle School, will see a major transformation of this landmark building in the heart of Gozo. The project sees the construction of a new primary school and the extension and the extensive refurbishment of the existing Middle School.
The new state-of-the-art school, the largest capital project for Gozo’s educational infrastructure, will create a spacious campus whereby classrooms will include the installation of the latest technology, thereby giving a sense of ownership by educators and students, while boosting the school’s ethos. The building will also respect the environment by adopting a greener design concept.
The well-planned school design foresees the building of sixteen classrooms for primary education; ten for kindergarten; complemented with special designed classrooms for the teaching of science, information technology and the arts.
Out of the 8,000 square metres of land area, 40% of the area around 3,000 square metres, will be dedicated to sports and recreational activities. The educational facility complex, will also include a childcare centre, where working parents can leave their children. Sports facilities will be accessible for the local community to enjoy after school hours.
As with all new schools being built, the building will cater for inclusivity and all facilities will be accessible to persons having difficulty in mobility.
Msida Primary School
Another investment of €10 million on 10,000 square meters of building space, is currently taking shape in Msida. This space will be turned into a modern, spacious and futuristic educational facility, specifically designed to provide the best education for our children living in this locality.
The building will feature two innovative features for our schools in our country: the concept of an ‘outdoor classroom environment’ and the creation of a ‘green wall’ on one of the school facades. This facade will be lined with a vertical garden, a concept which will also be extended to the Msida Educational facility’s yards.
In the outdoor classroom, the area will be roofed by a tent and surrounded by trees, plants and flowers, while special furniture will be installed, allowing students to sit in circles and mingle better.
All newly-built schools will be painted in various shades of colours. This is being done, following research which showed that the use of different shades or hues of colours, have strikingly different effects, more conducive to learning.
The facility will have forty classes, which include no less than fourteen specifically designed for the teaching of subjects such as personal and social development; arts; music; science; literacy; and ethics. The school will also have a childcare centre facility; public library and a spacious hall.
The school’s facilities will also be available for the enjoyment of the local community, after school hours.
The Malta School of Arts
The elegant and elaborate historic 18th century palace in Valletta undergone a €5 million refurbishment project, which preserved Malta’s Capital cultural heritage while adapted the building to the needs of the modern and future arts sector.
Catering for around 500 budding artists annually, the refurbishment of the neglected building, is a sign of commitment to the arts sector, bringing to life a clear vision where artists have a place to mingle, create and exhibit their work.
The investment included not only the total restoration and regeneration of the building, but the installation of a new lighting and water systems, access to more rooms which formed part of the palace, the installation of an elevator, and the creation of modern and comfortable spaces while still respecting the historical heritage of the building.
A spokesperson for the Ministry for Education explained that the new and refurbished schools revolve around one important aspect: that the design of classroom spaces and other learning areas can have a huge impact on student outcomes be it academic growth and engagement to improved health and classroom behaviour. Thus, classrooms and learning spaces are being equipped with the appropriate technology, furniture and audio-visual tools to assist students in their educational journey.
While the summer recess is the ideal time to carry out the normal maintenance programme in all schools, the same cannot be said when one is planning to carry out extensive refurbishment works on an existing school building which is still being functioning as an educational facility. In such a scenario, one needs to plan about the relocation of students to other schools until the construction or refurbishment works are being carried out.