Exploring St Andrew’s College Through Virtual Tours

The desire to showcase the beautiful St Andrew’s College campus and facilities was behind the initiative by Francesca Eathorne (Head of Communications / Strategic Analyst) to engage with Google Photographers to create a number of virtual tours.

With a strong tradition of boarding at St Andrew’s, along with growing numbers of international students, not all parents or prospective students could come for a tour on site with the College Registrar. These tours helped bridge that gap in ways traditional printed media could not. By clicking on the images below, you can navigate through the new Boarding Houses opened by John Key in 2013:

Thompson & Rutherford Boarding Houses:

Additionally, the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010-11 impacted significantly on many schools, with various rebuilding projects underway.  The new Preparatory School buildings had actually been completed just before the earthquakes, and were officially opened by the Governor General Sir Jerry Mataparae in early 2012. This building had survived the quakes very well and can be virtually “walked through” here:

The Preparatory School:

Whilst St Andrew’s College has students from Years 1-13, the Preparatory School and Pre-School are quite self-contained, separate from the older students whilst still being part of the same campus. Choosing to have a Google walkthrough for the Pre-School helped highlight the special environments these students enjoy:

The Pre-School:

Some of the factors that influenced the decision to go with Google included:

  • Their standard of work was very high, and the initial tours they had done in the Boarding Houses were excellent.
  • We could embed the tours directly into our online platforms (as I have done in this blog post) so they were very accessible to our community.
  • They are dynamic – the user can choose where they wish to navigate to and are not restrained by a rotating 360 degree view only – this encourages them to interact with the tour, as if they were actually walking around the campus and exploring the buildings.
  • The ability to split the tours into different sections, rather than have one long tour you had to navigate around. This way you can easily go straight to the area or building of interest.

Strowan House & The Quad:

One of the decisions Ms Eathorne had to make was whether to include students in the tours. Case studies had suggested that virtual tours should include members of the school population to make it more realistic, but in the end she decided not to as it was more in keeping with the College policy of managing student image consent.

These tours are a great example of using technology to promote the College to a wider audience. Perhaps less formal ways to explore the campus have been created by our Prefects over the last two years, including the Giant Thistle:

This was inspired by the hugely successful “This is Us” lipdup video that toured the majority of the campus and involved hundreds of students performing in various ways: