COLA Structures

Covered Outdoor Learning Areas 

At Greenline, we design our Covered Outdoor Learning Areas (COLAs) with careful consideration of your requirements, your needs, the space you’re covering and how you want to use it.  Think of your shade structure as a canopy.  In a forest, the canopy maintains optimum conditions for encouraging new growth.  In a school, we also need the best environment to encourage new growth in our students and we now know that our learning environments are critical to achieving good learning outcomes.

St Bernards The CLUB Image

COLAs allow for year-round assembly, outdoor play and innovative student learning opportunities with all-weather access to all school spaces.  A well-designed, covered outdoor learning area will not only protect staff and students from the suns rays or keep the rain off, this shade option offers the opportunity to take your classroom outside.  Research shows that outdoor learning encourages increased interaction and engagement by both students and teachers.

Covered Outdoor learning Area shade structure

Creating a sun-safe environment will extend the length of time children play outdoors, which is beneficial for focus and attention span when play time is over. COLAs can be a clever and beautiful way to protect your students from the elements while providing shade and protection in a truly multi-purpose space.  Good shade also prolongs the life and integrity of playground equipment, surfaces and seating without fade and damage from the sun.  It keeps playground equipment cooler and therefore more accessible for children in warmer weather and provides a contemporary, colourful and more engaging visual aesthetic that should complement existing buildings.

Shade Structure builders

COLA sizing can really start as small as you need and the largest can cover huge areas, multiple basketball or sports courts, almost limitless.  So, think about use of the space and the possibilities for the use of the space.  If it’s being created specifically for learning, then smaller may be more suitable, but multi-purpose will be larger so schools can handle timetabling, assembly options and play activities in one, purpose-designed, all-weather area.

Blackburn High School 3D Video

  • Construction started in August 2018 and was completed early 2019
  • Covering 2 full size netball courts and 4 volleyball courts and includes concrete tiered seating and integrated sports equipment
  • The structure measures at 38m x 61m

Click here to view our video (click and drag to look around in 3D)


Shade for schools

Materials will be primarily waterproof, membrane or steel.  The term COLA has become synonymous with metal/steel roof structures, however for the creation of your Covered Outdoor Learning Area, structure type and covering options are entirely in your hands.  You will want to consider your COLA’s primary purpose, and how you would like to vary your learning environment.

Chat To Sam And Gerry For More Information.

At Greenline, we never settle for the ordinary!

Our ‘glorious shade’ mantra means no two projects are alike – every solution is customised to suit client-specific requirements for a unique end result. Together, let’s create something extraordinary!

Message us to get started