McKenzie Street Aged Services Centre provides a range of services and programs for Melton’s ageing population which includes training courses in areas such as computer use, art, yoga and cooking programs together with offices for professionals who visit the elderly on a daily basis.
The City of Melton previously had a number of aged service centres in its domain, many of which required modification and upgrading. Rather than make a few cosmetic changes to the orange brick centre already in Melton, a major refurbishment and expansion program was undertaken.
k20 Architecture were engaged by Melton City Council in 2013 to provide architectural services for the existing facility as well as to create one new centre, with the two buildings able to function together, or independently. The new facility can be found on the corner of Smith and McKenzie Streets, which is adjacent to the existing facility at 5 McKenzie Street, Melton. The two structures have been linked via an undercover walkway. The new building provides expanded administrative space while the existing facility provides additional program areas for activities for participants.
Manager Community Care Coral Crameri was involved with the project from inception through to completion and worked closely with k20 Architecture throughout the design stage.
“Our first meeting with k20 Architecture was at the existing facility to identify what was working well and what could be improved within the new design,” Coral Crameri said.
“The existing facility was very overcrowded and the layout meant that when one of the 100 out-of-office staff came into the office they would need to walk in and around the staffing quarters which was very disruptive.
“k20 Architecture listened to this concern and the new design provides for a back entry door accessible from the drop off parking to allow staff to enter and leave again quickly without anyone being none the wiser.”
The new facility incorporates a large tea room, meeting room x2, family room (with available public space for parents), toilets, car parking accessible from back door entry, communications room, storage, and photocopy space as well as administration pods.
Regarding the design of the new facility, Coral said k20 Architecture brought a number of great design ideas, layout options and different textiles to the project.
“k20 Architecture were not only willing to listen to our ideas, but they would always arrive with new ideas and options to bring to the project,” Coral Crameri said.
“Natural light was something that we really wanted incorporated within the new design and the new facility includes high windows which allows for a great amount of natural light.
“This natural light makes you feel like you are connected to the outside, even though you are enclosed from all sides.”
Looking to the future Coral sees the completion of the new facility as an opportunity for McKenzie Street Aged Services Centre to grow as a service provider.
“It will also give other service providers the chance to work from the one space,” Coral Crameri said.
“This facility is beneficial for the whole community because there are so many services all in the one location.
“The new facility has improved client satisfaction as well as staff engagement and will provide additional staff safety as many of the staff who once worked out of the office now have that central support.”
Capital Projects Coordinator Braith Norman said the most important factor for this project was discussing what the benefits of this new facility were for the community long term.
“The idea of the design was to free up the new extension as the user groups have greater engagement in the existing facility. The new facility is specific to administration which has provided better communication for the facility and users,” Braith Norman said.
“k20 Architecture Director Anthony U took a lead role from the beginning of the project and this continued throughout the duration of the project.
“The project was delivered on time and budget and has provided a great outcome for the staff and Council.”
Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) initiatives are ingrained within every k20 project and Melton City Council also saw these features as important within the new design.
“Initially these ESD design innovations did pose an issue to the contractor who had no prior experience working with the ESD materials we were incorporating,” Braith said.
“k20 Architecture were very patient with the contractor and helped them throughout the construction phase.“
Braith said it is facilities like McKenzie Street Aged Services Centre that will help to lead the way and inspire the community for the best possible future.
“It is great to have projects like this that are iconic within the community, providing inspiration for the whole community.”
“I work across the road but I am definitely thinking of moving my desk over to this new facility!”
Above image: Capital Projects Coordinator Braith Norman