In a first for a Sunshine Coast school, an innovative $2 million Environmental Education Centre will be constructed at Immanuel Lutheran College. Using the latest in sustainable materials and technology, the Centre will partner with organisations like USC Sunshine Coast and Queensland Parks and Wildlife, which will work with Immanuel students as well as those from other schools across the region.

The Centre’s main goal will be to promote student learning experiences. It will showcase the College’s rainforest environment by creating wet labs and ‘living’ classrooms in which students from Immanuel, USC and other Sunshine Coast schools can conduct field studies to learn about the region’s flora and fauna.

“With an increasing emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Science) in the Australian curriculum, coupled with the growing global awareness around environmental sustainability, the Centre will deepen student learning and emphasise the importance of stewardship over our environment,” said Principal Colin Minke.

“Over 550 square metres in size, the Centre will also offer a venue for professional learning in which external agencies such as USC and Queensland Parks and Wildlife can work with students from both primary and secondary schools.

“To be located adjacent to the rainforest, the Centre will create an indoor/outdoor learning experience where the traditional classroom context will mix with real world experiences. There will also be opportunities to engage with local Indigenous people to map the history of the area,” said Mr Minke.

The design and construction of the building are critical to its success and will use the latest in sustainable materials and technology. Features include energy efficient lighting with smart controls; photovoltaic panels feeding from elsewhere onsite to power lighting and ceiling fans; louvres to provide natural cross ventilation; larger eaves to improve daylight throughout the year without excess, unwanted heat; a heat pump hot water system; rainwater catchment tanks; and recyclable, waterproof materials for doors and joinery. 

It is expected that construction of the Centre will be completed by late 2018.