Warragul & District Specialist School

Location: Warragul
Client: Warragul SDS
Designed by: Jeavons Landscape Architects, 2006
Constructed: Arcadia Landscapes
Artist: James Cattell & Herbert Jercher

Warragul & District Specialist School is a provincial school for students 5 to 18 years old with intellectual and physical disabilities from across West Gippsland The principal, staff and therapists were heavily involved with the development of the main concept of ‘contributing a wealth of knowledge and experience in order to obtain maximum play benefit for children with a wide range of disabilities’.

The main courtyard is a place for play and retreat without any “traditional” fixed play equipment. Although the space is visible from every part of the building for safety reasons, there are intimate gathering corners for small and large group meetings.

The sand play area has a natural free form setting to invite use by all children of all ages and abilities. The sand play area is divided by a bridge to form two alternate spaces to maximise the potential for different play opportunities. Connected to the sand play area is a creek bed lined by a miniature forest.

During the design process, Jeavons Landscape Architects in collaboration with staff generated innovative ideas including;

  • A deep pressure/tactile sensation.
  • Tactile paving materials for walking or lying on.
  • Interactive water features.
  • Relocatable/portable musical elements.

The artist James Cattell developed two unique water features in close consultation with Warragul & District Specialist School. Sound artist Herbert Jercher worked with the school staff and developed a range of specialist musical sculptures.