Focus on your future school campus

February 9, 2022 | Projects

With NSW Government slashing red tape and committing $7.9 billion to educational infrastructure over the next four years, schools are entering a new landscape of competition and super-charged campus development. How can school principals and administrators get on top of planning?

 Streamlined rules

In addition to funding, the government is fast-tracking the construction of new and upgraded education facilities through the revised State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) for education.

The SEPP now enables public and registered non-government schools to construct two-storey buildings without a development application, as long as it complies with strict rules. In a similar vein, certain child care centres can also go ahead without a development application.

“Speeding up the planning process means we can get shovels in the ground and new classrooms up and running,” said Robert Stokes, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces.

Understandably, the road ahead can appear problematic for school decision makers: “Where do I to start? How can I make future-fit decisions?”

Paynter Dixon is renowned for partnering with schools to deliver their vision for education excellence. In many instances, this relationship can span decades as we design and construct best-of-breed facilities.

If you’re weighing up the next steps of campus development, we recommend you prioritise master planning – here’s why.

Begin with the masterplan 

Master planning is your conceptual layout for guiding future growth and development. This approach leaves nothing to chance, as the architectural, landscape, heritage and urban design aspirations of the site are considered up front.

It’s also a powerful framework for making informed decisions on the timing of future capital works, factoring in budget, approvals, and the operational dimensions of a school campus. This all goes towards building certainty and confidence in the outcome.

Paynter Dixon’s site master plan for St Brigid’s Catholic College on the Central Coast was instrumental in enabling building-by-building construction as the student population increased. One of the key elements of the master plan was to ensure no disruption to existing buildings during construction.

Work was planned around school times, student and staff movements, exam timetables and school events ensuring the school continued to function seamlessly. The design of the building and facilities also supported the student-centred learning model practised at St Brigid’s.

Relationship longevity is another key sign of client satisfaction. It’s worth noting our work with Hills Grammar School in north-west Sydney spans more than 30 years.

As the school purchased land, our team tailored the master plan to meet future needs in a cost-effective and integrated approach. This led to the repurposing of buildings alongside new facilities, optimising the student experience as the campus grew.

Our work on site has spanned building types, from an early childhood education centre and refurbished classrooms, through to a 150-seat grandstand and landscaping. In recent months, the team has put the finishing touches on FIFA standard synthetic turf playing fields with lighting.

Paynter Dixon is also at the forefront of delivering early education facilities. As part of the Hunter Valley Grammar School’s expansion, we oversaw the delivery of an early childhood education centre,  exploring avenues for adding value. This included working with the Department of Community Services to seamlessly transfer the current Child Care licence between old and new facilities.

Above: St Brigid’s Catholic College

Find the right partner

Led by Matthew Greene, an architect with more than 30 years’ experience, the education team is skilled in bringing design and delivery together.

Partnering is also our tried-and-true approach to aligning site development with your strategic goals – today and in the years ahead.

To discuss the potential of your future campus, contact Matthew Greene, Executive General Manager – Paynter Dixon, on