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Student Stories

Input from students improves cafeteria redesign

“They had a unique perspective on how the spaces would be used, and this has influenced the design for the better.”
- Principal Danny O'Connor

Students from ACG Strathallan had a hand in the design and fit-out of the school’s refreshed cafeteria and social space.

Principal Danny O’Connor put a call out to see if students would be interested in participating in the design process and was impressed by the number who were happy to give up their free time to take part.

“There were more than 20 students squeezed into the boardroom meeting with the architect. They carefully considered his proposals and put forward their own,” he explained.

“They had a unique perspective on how the spaces would be used, and this has influenced the design for the better.”

The initial plan was to deck an outdoor area off the cafeteria to bring the quad to life for students. But their alternative – knocking out walls to creating an inside space with greater capacity that could be used regardless of weather – was taken forward.

The cafeteria is now fully modernised, with floor-to-ceiling glass, concrete floors, bench seats and bar leaners creating an area with a fresh, industrial vibe. School values are printed in English and Maori on the windows and photography by current and former students is proudly on display.

“It’s a great student space now; students use the space do study in the mornings and to hang out after school. It’s a space they can feel proud of – and they do, you can tell.”

Student Sienna van Baarle, in Year 8, was part of the consulting group.

“I feel the feng shui of the place is really beneficial to students,” she said. “It provides us with a calm and spacious environment for between-class relaxation and shenanigans. I can’t wait to spend more time there.”