Tracking journey on road to future

PRINCIPLES IN PRACTICE: Seven underlying  educational principles  determined by the school community  guided the design of the project.
PRINCIPLES IN PRACTICE: Seven underlying educational principles determined by the school community guided the design of the project.

The redevelopment of Hunter Sports High School  involved the staged demolition of existing buildings and construction of a new five stream high school on the same site, all while it remained operational.

INNOVATION CENTRE:  The school's new library gives students and staff great access to learning technology.

INNOVATION CENTRE: The school's new library gives students and staff great access to learning technology.

New state-of-the-art facilities include classrooms, science and visual art labs, metalwork and woodwork rooms, food technology areas, a library, a canteen with training facilities and sports areas.

The design has been developed to incorporate stadium-like building forms and sporting venue language, whilst maintaining Aboriginal cultural aspects throughout the overall school design and site layout.

TEAM EFFORT: Public Works Advisory played a critical role in the $45 million redevelopment. Pictured are Wayne Bryant, Andy Powell and Drew Varnum.

TEAM EFFORT: Public Works Advisory played a critical role in the $45 million redevelopment. Pictured are Wayne Bryant, Andy Powell and Drew Varnum.

Seven Educational Principles

Seven underlying  educational principles  determined by the school community  guided the design of the project, underpinning all decisions regarding the redevelopment, including what facilities were to be included, the number and types of rooms and buildings, and how the new facilities would look. 

Feedback from student, parent and staff surveys was used in the development of the educational principles and was vital in ensuring that the needs of the school community were met.

  1. Our school delivers high quality educational and sporting outcomes in contemporary learning environments, both internal and external.
  2. Our school is safe and fully inclusive.
  3. Technological & Applied Studies is a major Key Learning Area for delivery of education in our school.
  4. We value and want to build on our strong community links.
  5. We look to the future: technology and sustainability.
  6. We take pride in our location and the presence we have in the community.
  7. We value our natural environment and the impact it has on our education.

Three stages

The development has been delivered over three stages with practical completion in January 2019.

  • Stage 1 included the demolition of the administration and library buildings, the construction of a two to three storey main building, administration building and movement complex/hall building; redevelopment of the main public entry and new landscaped spaces.
  • Stage 2 involved demolition of 3 more school buildings to make way for construction of the new additional classroom buildings, art and music specialist rooms, Big Picture academy and library. It then progressed to the removal of demountable classrooms for the school to be in full operation in new buildings.
  • Stage 3 involved the demolition of remaining buildings and the construction of the synthetic court, bus shelter, resurfacing of the back fields and final landscaping.

  The Hunter Sports High School Redevelopment incorporated the construction of three new buildings:

  • Block S: A school hall, known as a Movement Complex, incorporating a large area for assemblies/presentations, canteen, weights gym and various store rooms and amenities.
  • Block T: A two and three-storey building incorporating the school's front reception and administration, staff offices, student and staff amenities, general classrooms and specialist classrooms such as Food Technology kitchens, wood and metalwork workshops, science laboratories and Special Education facilities.
  • Block U: A single-storey building incorporating the school library (known as the Innovation Centre), student amenities, student welfare function (Minimbah Room and Youth Centre) and specialist learning areas such as the Big Picture Academy, Visual and Performing Arts.

Redevelopment timeline 

  • June 2014: Initial funding announced.
  • June 2015: EJE Architecture successful at tender to design the new school.   
  • January 2016: Bini Shell demolished as an early works project. 
  • January 2017: Hansen Yuncken awarded tender to build the school. 
  • April 2017: First stages of demolition took place.
  • November 2017: Completion of S Block. This was converted into 15 temporary classrooms to allow for the demolition of the remaining buildings.
  • July 2018: T Block, the largest of the three new buildings handed over to the school. Classes commenced in the new science laboratories, metal and wood workshops, kitchens and special education spaces.
  • November 2018: U block handed over to the school. The learning spaces included music, art rooms, Big Picture Academy and the Innovation Centre (library)
  • January 2019: S block converted from temporary classrooms to an indoor netball and volleyball complex with a gymnasium. Landscaping, synthetic courts, bus shelter and resurfacing of playing fields in final stages of completion.  

Team Effort 

Members on the initial planning team in the early stages after the funding was announced all have had significant input into the final design of the school seen today. 

  • Mrs Kay Peno – School Director (retired 2015 with Steve Harris appointed new Director) 
  • Mrs Louise Gallagher – Principal (moved into a consultant position in 2014) 
  • Mr Brad Gemmell – School Infrastructure NSW – Group Leader Hunter region 
  • Ms Rachel Byrne – Deputy Principal, moved into relieving Principal 2014 and became substantive principal in 2016. 
  • Ms Kelly Sutton – P&C President until 2016. 
  • Jenny Richardson current P&C President 
  • Ms Roselea Newburn – President of Minimbah Aboriginal Education Consultative Group. A part of the project team since the beginning. 

NSW Government Public Works Advisory

The NSW Government Public Works Advisory played a critical role in the $45 million redevelopment of Hunter Sports High School.

Public Works Advisory managed both the design and the construction (project management) of the redevelopment. This included the initial design brief, concept designs and running the stakeholders consultation process within the local community. 

The project presented many challenges, including managing and maintaining a collaborative and positive stakeholder consultation process during an extensive design phase while delivering an inspiring and modern design that aligned with progressive school objectives and teaching methodologies.

Another challenge included developing and safely managing the significant staged demolition and construction phases of the project within an occupied and operational school site.

And a third was successfully managing the design and construction phases throughout changes to the scope and funding requirements of the project.

Ten local Public Works Advisory staff members were involved in managing design and construction over the course of the project.

Jen Bates was the Project Manager from 2015 up until her death in late 2016.

A commemorative mosaic wall sculpture and plaque will be installed at the new school in her honour.

Over the past two years, Public Works Advisory’s Wayne Bryant and Andy Powell have been based on-site and have worked closely with the school to deliver the redevelopment.

“Hunter Sports High School represents a very significant project in our local community and Public Works Advisory Hunter New England is extremely proud to have been involved in its delivery,” Drew Varnum, Regional Director, Public Works Advisory Hunter New England, said.

“In particular, this project has been a great example of collaboration across the design and delivery teams over the past five years to deliver a high-quality project which will be one of the premier schools in the State.

“A key objective of this project was to provide infrastructure that the community felt a connection to. To that end, we wanted to ensure the community were closely engaged throughout the process to provide feedback on the design. Our local teams are connected to the projects we deliver. The projects we work on benefit our families, friends and the people of NSW, and we look forward to continuing to work with local communities across the State.”