Russell Yelland

Port Lincoln High School Specialist and Year 7 facilities

Completed: 2022
Client: SA Department for Education / Port Lincoln High School

As the largest secondary school on the Eyre Peninsula, Port Lincoln High School (PLHS) prides itself on educating a diverse student community. In the height of the pandemic, we discussed with them the challenges they were facing delivering a well-regarded specialist education curriculum despite the long-term challenges of ageing facilities.

What we did: Secondary school upgrade
New build
Arts, language and cultural facilities
Specialist facilities
Special School annexe
Indigenous education

Three kilometres away, the R-13 Port Lincoln Special School (PLSS) was also grappling with the need for improved access to specialist education facilities. With limited separate budgets, we helped the schools to consider how they might combine their efforts and infrastructure funding to deliver a shared facilities upgrade, co-located on the PLHS site.

The PLHS arts faculty enjoyed a particularly strong reputation, regularly celebrating award-winning Indigenous student artists, despite dated visual arts learning areas. There was a need for a dedicated language centre, new facilities for Aboriginal education, home economics and technical studies, and a new school canteen, along with accommodation for the pending Year 7 intake.

Our colleagues from Mulloway Studio facilitated early workshops, from which we chose the culturally significant circle as inspiration for the Aboriginal education room’s design. The curved corner masonry signals to the street: this is a place of welcome and intention. Indoors, student artwork is proudly incorporated into a circular carpet feature, and we tied the circular motif into other areas of the new development in round acoustic ceiling details, floor patterns and ocular skylights. Oversized breakouts multiply art, language and cultural studies learning spaces and offer generous areas for withdrawal.

Centralised staff zones allow for oversight of both the mainstream education areas and special school annexe, which are otherwise sealed off from one another, affording privacy to both. A special education room and associated support space caters for learning and behaviour regulation, and a covered entry on the Ruskin Road side supports the all-weather transfer of students by bus.

Photography credits:Aaron Citti