Acoufelt was given the opportunity to donate acoustic panels to assist South Australia’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital Hospital School Revamp project. This project was managed through Broadfeather design and led by head designer Tracey Davis who called upon Acoufelt’s assistance to contribute towards the revamp for an important cause.
The Women’s and Children’s Hospital School provides critical education services to approximately 1000 children between the ages of 3.5 and 18 years. Children attending the Women’s and Children’s Hospital School have usually come out of intensive treatment at the hospital, but are still too unwell to attend regular school.
The school provides an engaging learning space for all students that is away from the health-related environment of the hospital. This plays a critical role in maintaining some normalcy and routine at a time when children and their families are often facing challenges. The school allows them to not only have the opportunity to continue their education, but to also escape the confines of the hospital environment and focus on something other than their health concerns.
Hospital School Principal, Matthew McCurry, says they have 40-60 students a day, often children or siblings of children who are having treatment. “Tucked away on the ground floor, the space caters for kids in pre-school right through to year, 12 who are being treated for a range of conditions”, says Matthew. “I wanted to build that engagement so that the young people don’t feel like they’re missing out or falling behind – because we don’t want them to have that on top of the health issues that they’re facing”.
The revamp included redesigning a number of junior and senior classrooms, the kitchen, a communal play area, private teaching rooms, and admin offices. The design committee were seeking to create a space that was playful and inspiring, with a vibrant style and a bold colour palette that would appeal to children across a range of age groups. The environment also needed to instil a sense of safety and comfort, factoring in the unique conditions and range of needs of students in attendance.
To fulfill part of the brief to add to the playfulness of the communal learning space, Acoufelt supplied WoodBeQuiet™ acoustic planks in ‘Wine Barrel’, installed to create a ‘tree trunk’ in the centre of the room that wrapped around a central structural pillar. Not only did the planks disguise the otherwise unsightly structural element of the room, they easily lent themselves to the theme of a learning tree amongst the books and toys in the communal space. As well as softening some of the excess sound in the space, the WoodBeQuiet™ tree trunk also provided a soft touchable surface for a tactile sensorial experience.
Another part of the design brief was to tackle the noise problems the staff and students were experiencing in the offices and tutoring spaces. Frequent running and playing in the adjacent room and corridors had made it difficult for any quiet learning to occur. The solution was to install Acoufelt FilaSorb™ Acoustic Panels in a neutral ‘Charcoal’ colour onto the adjacent walls of the offices, achieving a quieter space for teaching, learning and working to take place.
After 8 months of renovating, with the help of dozens of donations and volunteers, the space has been entirely transformed. The Women’s and Children’s Hospital, the design committee, and Acoufelt are thrilled with the result. The re-opening of the school has come just in time with 1,400 students expected to attend classes here during the 2020 school year.