The Scots College continues to plan for its future, with the construction of the John Cunningham Student Centre. Formerly known as the Stevenson Library, it will deliver essential student amenities and learning spaces with a focus on learning support, student counselling, academic research and professional learning.
The former Stevenson Library building was completed in 1988. It was an imposing, block-like, flat-roofed building, without features or a main entrance. It was an institutional building, not well suited to a leading contemporary education experience, and is no longer fit for purpose.
The new building has been constructed in three stages: demolition and site establishment, piling and underground infrastructure set-up, construction and fit-out. Taylor Construction Group is currently delivering the construction stage of the John Cunningham Student Centre.
The development of the John Cunningham Student Centre is progressing well, with major concrete now complete and the main roof works well underway.
To find out more, you can view information about the project and construction process or contact us by emailing [email protected].
Community Information Session Update
A community information session providing the opportunity to view information about the new John Cunningham Student Centre and speak with members of the project team was held on Tuesday 28 February 2023. Community members were invited to come along to The Scots College Main Oval, the area adjacent to the construction site, which provides a view of the building under construction.
Information about future sessions will be communicated via website updates, as well as e-newsletters, distributed to the local community.
You can also contact us by emailing [email protected].
The College buildings skirting the oval are largely correlated either in scale, detailing or texture; Aspinall House is the most detailed and the Lang Walker Business Centre the least. They all address the oval, are porous at oval level, and provide a pathway of travel in a north-south direction, except the Library building which interrupts travel — boys must walk up and use the footpath on Victoria Road.
In practical terms the exterior of the refurbished library needs to be softened and given some surface depth, breaking up the large flat vertical elevations and horizontal profile. We need to allow natural light inside, on all levels, and this calls for very large windows; a roofing profile is also needed that correlates with Aspinall House and the main school building with ridges, gables and hips, yet one which also allows for a roof terrace.
We need to employ an architectural style into which can be read both the heritage of the College and the purpose of this building. All of these challenges and conflicts above can be met and resolved with the adoption of the Scottish Baronial style of the 16th Century and as revived in the 19th Century. Many fine examples exist from Scotland to Canada, Ireland and New Zealand. It has stood the test of time.
To ensure the exterior concept remained true to its heritage, the College engaged Dr Alistair Disley, a globally recognised expert in Scottish architecture, to provide an extensive report and recommendations that were incorporated to ensure the design concept remained true in its representation of the style.
It is interesting to note that many of the original examples of this Scottish architectural style were built by the enterprise leaders and entrepreneurs of the era and this reflects the College’s focus on preparing boys for the challenges of the 21st Century.
While the exterior is an authentic representation of the style, the internal fitout will incorporate the latest research into optimal learning environments. The College engaged design firm Veldhoen, global leaders in Activity Based Working, to inform the design of our new and refurbished learning spaces. Veldhoen was also engaged by Macquarie Bank and other major Australian firms. The outstanding results can be seen in the STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) rooms and the Lang Walker Business Centre.
This Scottish design style highlights significant traits of the proposed student support programs within. The original concept of this style was as a fortified building, a defensible structure, a safe stronghold; in short, a sanctuary. In the Scots context, it embodies a safe place for boys. It is a building looking out for the boys, a lighthouse for them visible from all parts of the College.
The College has been guided by two previous masterplans in recent decades. The 1992 masterplan prepared by Peddle Thorp was succeeded by the 2013-2023 masterplan prepared by Conybeare Morrison. These documents have been opened for public comment and discussion with local government at the appropriate times over the years. At the request of the Woollahra Municipal Council, the College is engaging in a process of further refining and defining aspects of the future plan and has engaged Adair Education and Sport architects to draft a refocused masterplan. Preparation has begun, and we expect the first release for public comment will be early next year.
The 2018 masterplan will build on the existing masterplan and incorporate the changing face of learning, student safety, student movement, disability access, car parking, transport, drop off and pick up zones as well as facilities upgrades.
The current 2013-2023 masterplan details the expected sequence of building refurbishment as:
- Aspinall House and Annex restoration (now complete)
- Business Studies Centre (now complete)
- Stevenson Library refurbishment
- Construction of a carpark, drop off, pick up, and sporting facilities in the Fairfax Oval precinct
A summary of the process and plans is available on this page and any questions or initial feedback you might have can be sent to [email protected].
The Stevenson Library building and facilities have aged, requiring ongoing maintenance and offering limited functionality for contemporary teaching and learning practices. This pivotal space is in need of an upgrade to make it a more useful facility for teaching and learning in the 21st Century, with a particular focus on learning support, student counselling, academic research and professional learning.
This project will prioritise the delivery of essential student amenities and learning spaces as well as creating more inclusive spaces by bringing the building in line with NSW Government disability inclusion guidelines. Located at the heart of our Senior School campus, the new John Cunningham Student Centre will not only deliver a state-of-the-art educational facility but also act as a physical embodiment of the College’s Scottish heritage.
The John Cunningham Student Centre will deliver a number of key benefits to students, staff and the broader community, including:
- improved academic research and study facilities
- seven to ten revamped learning spaces
- new catering facilities for day students
- an increase in onsite toilet facilities
- improved accessibility for disabled students and staff through the introduction of lifts to the library and learning spaces
- a new north-south access route through the College, improving circulation throughout the College and allowing students to move between buildings internally and reducing the use of public footpaths
- creation of levels to provide future capacity for a pedestrian underpass diverting students away from the Victoria Road intersection
- dedicated pastoral care and counselling facilities for students.
The building has been designed in a Scots Baronial style in recognition of the College’s significant Scottish heritage.
Construction of the new John Cunningham Student Centre commenced in mid-December 2019 with the establishment of the works area. Demolition of the existing façade started on Monday 6 January 2020 and was completed by May 2020.
The construction stage of the John Cunningham Student Centre is underway. The brickwork is reflecting the shape and size of the building, giving us a sense of the emerging structure.
The building has been deliberately staged with four tenders: demolition and site establishment, piling and underground infrastructure set-up, building and fit-out. This has enabled the selection of specialist builders, as well as manage costs. Taylor Construction Group is currently on site and we look forward to good progress as the building begins to take shape.
Concrete pours and the main roof works are underway and are expected to be completed by November 2022. The overall construction of the John Cunningham Student Centre is scheduled to be completed by March 2023, with the new building opening in mid-2023.
Initial investigations suggest about seven neighbouring properties currently have views of the existing Stevenson Library.
The changes to the existing building will have a minimal impact on sightlines that are currently enjoyed by these neighbours.
The upgrade will deliver a far more attractive building, particularly for those neighbours with views of its roofline.
The Stevenson Library upgrade is part of the 2013-2023 Conybeare Morrison masterplan. The College has commenced a process of revisiting its 2013 masterplan and this will be part of a separate design and planning process including further community consultation.
The College is committed to keeping the community informed and will provide regular updates about any future plans.
The delivery of an upgraded library building will bring all the information, pastoral care and student support services into one accessible location. It will add significant capacity in flexible space, as well as dining and toilet facilities needed to accommodate students. Importantly, this project prioritises the wellbeing of our students and addresses issues such as poor circulation, access and amenities.
Without first renovating the current Stevenson Library, we would find it extremely difficult to continue operating the school during any future construction of on-site parking or pick-up and drop-off zones.
Changes to the library will also create a new north-south access route through the school, allowing students to move between facilities internally, rather than via Victoria Road footpaths.
Starting our work on a building in the middle of the school grounds also offers respite to neighbours who have experienced the recent development of the Business Studies Centre now known as the Lang Walker Business Centre.
No increase in current student numbers is being proposed as part of the Stevenson Library, now John Cunningham Student Centre upgrade.
The Scots College receives no government funding for capital work and therefore when building work is undertaken it must be funded from either donations or bank loans. As a not for profit there is limited capacity for bank lending and therefore the College will fund the majority of the upgrade through fundraising and donations.
As part of the approved plans there will be opportunities for formal and informal consultation. In addition, the College will actively consult with the community throughout construction.
You could choose to:
- subscribe to community newsletters – via email
- letterbox drops and the website
- complete our online Feedback Form.
The following are the John Cunningham Student Centre project documents with outlining approvals and various construction plans.
- Architectural and survey plans
- Statutory approvals
- Community Communications Strategy
- Construction Environmental Management Plan
- Construction Traffic Management Plan
- Compliance Report
(The full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Response Report can be viewed on the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Planning Portal.)
Feedback and Enquiries Register
The Scots College welcomes constructive feedback on what we can do to improve, to make the construction process better for our community. Please email [email protected] and a member of the College staff will get back to you promptly.
For any other enquiry, please contact College reception on 02 9391 7600.