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21 Jan
University of Western Australia. QEII Medical Centre M-Block Refurbishment Project - Perth, WA

ACORPP recently project managed the refurbishment of M-Block at Perth’s QEII Medical Centre, to create a technology-rich wet lab and three interconnected e-learning suites for two schools within the UWA Facility of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.

The project started with a clear brief, to implement new e-learning “dry” practical sessions within a series of e-learning suites, which would feature in a state-of-the-art world class teaching program and accommodate ever-increasing class sizes, together with the adjacent practical wet laboratory. The Client required the facility to be used by a variety of students within the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. The refurbishment was designed to address the change in student profile, provide greater flexibility in the utilisation of the building and to upgrade out-of-date facilities and bring them into the 21st Century.

The facility was to accommodate a number of different teaching methods, where small groups of students would work together using digital resources and collaborative desks and aid in the future streamlining of facilities, within an existing building.


IMAGES OF THE COMPLETED MAIN WET AND DRY LABORATORIES, CREATING STATE OF THE ART E-LEARNING SPACES


TECHNOLOGY, COLLABORATIVE PODS AND TOUCH PANELS


The project required an intensive process of ‘Design and Stakeholder Workshops’ to reach a successful conclusion and to achieve required teaching methods coupled with the appropriate technology.

The Design Team researched commercially available collaborative workstations to meet the various applications required by the School. However, following various design meetings, site visits over East researching similar teaching facilities and discussions with the audio visual and IT consultants, it was apparent that the relatively simple switch boxes available in the off-the-shelf products were never going to work, so it was decided that the pods would have to be custom made.

The desks were prototyped and tested before being manufactured in-house by the UWA Cabinet Workshop. The main driving force here was total flexibility and support for switching, however by producing the ‘in-house collaborative pods or workstations’ allowed for ease in the future maintenance of the equipment and pod development going forward. A good decision was made on many levels to take this route and subsequently giving overall control now and in the future for development and flexibility back to UWA.

Cutting edge technology and equipment, together with innovative design achieved state of the art spaces, within a constrained building footprint. In terms of visual technology and user profile, the pod touch panel (photo above) was just one of the many solutions incorporated in the overall design. The layout is elegant and simple - each coloured button corresponds to the colour-coded input cable, where students can select their laptop to the screen simply by checking the colour on the lead and touch the corresponding colour button on the touch panel. Similarly, this simple design concept is again reflected through the building design itself, where the red, green and blue themed collaborative e-learning suites can operate together or be divided by sliding glass partitions. There are a total of 29 collaboration pods and three teaching stations to accommodate 174 students. Also in the main wet laboratories, there are eight monitors and two projectors which provide clear sightlines to every bench in the adjoining wet lab.

Today, the successful implementation of the teaching spaces started with a clear understanding of the teaching goals, consideration of how the technology would work within the building structure and newly formed design and finally the controlled delivery and passion of the design team to achieve these goals. On successful completion of this project, the official opening ceremony was undertaken by UWA’S Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Johnson, and supported by Faculty Dean, Winthrop Professor Ian Puddey.

AWARD

The Fit Out won the 2013 NECA Excellence Awards for the Category of ‘Commercial Medium Project’ – Datatel Electrical and Communications.

Web link for article and video reference;
http://neca.asn.au/index.php/awards/excellence_awards/excellence_awards_2013-1/western_australia_excellence_awards_2013_videos/

NEWS LITERATURE
(1)    E-Learning Sharpens Health Students’ Skills
http://www.news.uwa.edu.au/201306045726/events/e-learning-sharpens-health-students-skills

(2)    ‘E-labs, Ipads, Web and Wireless – It’s All Part of The Learning Scene”
http://www.meddent.uwa.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/2244011/MeDeFacts-December-2012.pdf

 

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