Two recent improvements to the infrastructure and natural environment at Fitzroy High School

Over the last couple of months there have been two changes to the school site that have improved the school’s general amenity and also added to the school’s infrastructure in a positive way. These changes are outlined in A and B below.

A. The ‘Corridor’ area garden between the old building and the Science/Technology building has been reordered and replanted by Jenny Harrington of Horticultural Services with the help of the school’s Principal, Linda Mitchell.

For several years Fitzroy High School (FHS) have been investing time and resources into a project that is reordering most of the school’s existing garden areas.

As part of this project, Jenny Harrington of Horticultural Services prepared a Report, Fitzroy High School Indigenous Gardens Project: Management and Scheduling Plan 2019-2020, in 2019.

This project was instigated by the Buildings and Environments Subcommittee of FHS Council and so far has been brought to fruition by Linda and Jenny.

In the 2019 report, Jenny Harrington recognised five areas for reordering, the:

  1. Amphitheatre at the school frontage on Falconer Street;
  2. Garden bed at the school frontage on Falconer Street;
  3. Garden bed alongside the main school building on Falconer Street;
  4. ‘Corridor’ area between the Old Building and the 2003-2004                          constructed Science/Technology building;
  5. Area near the Ficus in the south-east corner of the school.

In 2019 the Area mentioned in 5 was replanted.

In 2020 the Area mentioned in 4 has been replanted, as outlined above. There was an emphasis on plains and grassy woodland plants being established in this ‘Corridor’. This location also includes the garden on the northern side of the Science/Technology building.

This whole project grew out of the 2014 ‘Commemorative return to Fitzroy High School – a celebration of ten years’ that took place in that year.

Its main aim is an attempt to represent and enhance the indigenous remnant vegetation that can be found throughout the City of Yarra.

The new ‘Corridor’ garden area can be seen in the image below.

B. New air conditioning units for the Library and IT Area have been installed. They can be seen on the cantilever veranda that covers the eastern entrance to the school, adjacent to the library.

In 2019 the Australian Government provided $30.2 million for the Local Schools Community Fund, with up to $200,000 available for each federal electorate. The Fund was to benefit students and assist schools to meet their priorities through the contribution of funding for small scale projects and their associated costs. 

These air conditioning units are the result of Fitzroy High School’s successful application to the Fund which is linked with the school’s local Federal Member Parliament, The Hon. Adam Bandt.

Part of the schools’ application to the Fund made the following three points.

“During Melbourne summers there are occasional days of extreme heat, which have increased in frequency since 2005 [Melbourne Regional Office of the Bureau of Meteorology, ‘Climate Statistics for Australian Locations’,Retrieved 5th March 2015]. In addition Melbourne’s 30 year average maximum and minimum temperatures have increased for all summer months. [Appendix 1 – http://www.baywx.com.au/melbavtemps30.html, Retrieved 18th September 2019]. This funding application aims to alleviate the impact of these changes on the efficacy of teaching and learning, teacher professional development and parent/community events in FHS’s Library and IT space.”

“The people who will mainly benefit from this project will be the teachers who permanently occupy the Library and IT space at FHS and the teachers and students who use these areas for teaching, learning and professional development. Additional benefit will be derived by parents and community members who are involved with school events, such as information evenings and parent/teacher gatherings that are often held in this space.”

“Knowing our students and teachers well is a core goal of our student and teacher well-being model. Understanding and continuously improving the relationship between students, teachers and the physical infrastructure with which they engage is a fundamental to providing support for their health and well being. An air conditioned Library and IT space will contribute greatly to achieving this goal.”

The new air conditioning units can be seen in the image below.

It is appropriate that these recent school achievements, that enhance the school’s buildings and general amenity, be brought to the attention of the whole school community. The school’s leadership group see this as one way of saying to parents, and the wider school community, that even though there have been many significant disruptions to the school’s working life over the last few months due to the corona virus pandemic, there have been some other activities that have continued. These enhance a sense of normalcy and will improve the general well being of the whole school community when we return to a post pandemic state of affairs. 

Roger Smith

Convenor

Buildings and Environments Subcommittee of FHS Council