Russell Yelland

Underdale High School Redevelopment

Completed: 2021
Client: SA Department for Education / Underdale High School

With 77 different cultural backgrounds on campus, Underdale High School prides itself on its diversity credentials. Its respected academic program combines with a selective entry specialist curriculum in the Soccer Academy and industry standard Automotive Trade Training Centre on site. With $20m in capital works funding allocated as part of the Building Better Schools program, we worked with the school to design a significant campus upgrade.

What we did: Secondary school upgrade
Building Better Schools funding
New build
Creative Arts Centre
Tech studies
First Nations recognition
Specialist facilities
Automotive Trade Training

First priority was the removal of aged transportables, along with the provision of sufficient accommodation for the new 2022 Year 7 intake. To maximise upgrades to existing building stock, the project team limited the new build to creative arts, metalwork, PE and some additional administration areas. This left sufficient budget for the internal refurbishment of 4,600 sq.m. of tired building stock.

A central courtyard has lifted the overall image of the school, improving connections between the buildings, courtyard and ovals with the river beyond. The River Torrens (Karrawirra Parri) is a significant element in the landscape, so we reflected its importance in the feature brickwork of the Creative Arts Centre. Generously upgraded pedestrian links past the new Creative Arts Centre also allow for fire and services access, and make scenic use of lawned areas shaded by established eucalypt and peppercorn trees.

Redesigned and extended tech studies areas have allowed for shared teaching spaces between the automotive and expanded woodworking facilities. Other upgrades include more flexible lab spaces in existing science rooms, with fixed island turrets and movable tables to support variable layouts.

The Creative Arts Centre comprises art, drama and music facilities, with the three art spaces linked via large sliding doors, and an additional learning area opening to the foyer and adjacent canteen for larger, after-hours performances and events. Music is also carefully located close by the performance area, for ease of bumping in, and doubling as a green room for drama.

Our judicious BIM modelling hastened shop drawing turnaround times during the pandemic, minimising the effects of labour and materials shortages throughout construction, delivering the project on budget and ahead of time.

Photography credits:David Sievers