Senior School Building Update

Posted: 23 November, 2017

UPDATE 9 - 23/11/17

The refurbishment works of levels 3 and 4 of the Senior School Building is continuing. Service trays are in place as are the stud walls. Some of the glass frames are also now being installed so you can see the changes to the floor plans as corridors are shifted, locker areas for Houses are created and classrooms and breakout areas are able to be identified.

Over the weekends the builders have been grinding and capping the flooring to get a more consistent level since the building was originally constructed over several stages and has had some different fit outs over the past 40 plus years.

The new extensions over level three terraces to accommodate a History/Social studies as well as a Sport/PDHPE staff area is roofed and wall linings are going in place, while the new location of the corridor to the Davidson House area will give a great parallel view into Teaching Street from the building. Up on level 4 Northcott and Hone House areas are also coming together with the stairs from level three popping out into a more open and now weather protected Hone House area that still has commanding views down the harbour to the Bridge.

Works remain on programme for construction completed prior to Christmas and staff relocations in January before school commences.

UPDATE 8 - 9/11/17

The change in the Senior School has been dramatic as students and staff get their bearing and begin using the refurbished floors. Students will see subtle references in wall panels to the Houses that are back in their areas, particularly Strickland with nearby classrooms having a deep blue pallet to the wall fabric while there is a warmer orange hue to the classrooms around Woodward. Yet to come into the areas is both House and general signage as well as wall graphics with an academic twist.

House areas will also have display cabinets and electronic signage in and around the locker areas.

Students are enjoying the new break-out spaces as they prepare for the day and catch up in breaks, while teachers and students are also using the break-out areas during class where students are collaborating on projects and study. Another new environment is the classrooms with a large central table that students in smaller classes sit around and learn together. While this is different and at sometimes confronting as everyone is part of the conversation, feedback from students is positive and they are enjoying the change.

Meanwhile, on levels three and four the builders are progressing demolition at pace. Level four has already been cleared and level three is not far behind. Cable trays for these areas are already on site and beginning to be installed.

With the HSC ending this week, the School is also thankful to the builders that they managed construction with no noise impact on the HSC examinations.

UPDATE 7 - 18/10/17

The refurbishment of the Senior School building is about to hit a major milestone as we switch from working on levels 1 and 2 to working on levels 3 and four at the end of next week.

Staff and houses are packing and preparing to move over from after school on Friday 27 October in what is logistically looking like a large version of “magic cups” to be ready for Monday 30 October Period 1.

Here’s what’s happening:

  • Strickland and Woodward will move from their temporary locations back to their respective home house areas on Levels 1 and 2 in the Senior School Building
  • Hone will relocate to the temporary house area vacated by Woodward on Level 5 Senior School building.
  • Northcott will move temporarily into a new house area on Level 2 Senior School Building
  • Davidson House will move into the temporary house area on Level 4 Carter that has been vacated by Strickland
  • English staff will move with Languages staff into a new combined staff room on level 1 Senior School
  • History and Sports staff will move into the temporary accommodation on Level 5 Senior School that has been vacated by the English Staff

To make this happen, boys from Strickland, Woodward, Hone, Northcott and Davidson will need to have their lockers completely cleared by the end of next week as they normally should at the end of each year, while staff are also working extra hard to have their areas completely ready for the weekend move.

In the background, the building site on Levels 1 and two is a buzz with tradesmen. There has been in excess of 50 tradesmen on site each day for the last four weeks with a very large push of works over the recent term break. The school holiday break was a great opportunity to get a lot of noisy work done such as the stripping out of toilet areas and the bringing in of large steel girders to create a floor extension on Level 3 behind the Sports Staff Room. An example of the complexity of the task was the girders, which were lowered by a mobile crane from alongside the Governor’s Ballroom, over the sandstone wall and onto Teaching Street before being manoeuvred by hand on trolleys and block and tackle into place via the Level 3 under-croft and basketball court.

Currently, lighting is being installed, carpet will be fully laid by the end of this week, along with glazing installed, lockers are already being placed in the new Strickland House area, and ceiling treatments are being finished off. The Regupol flooring for the corridors is also being completed with the cleaners coming in next week to have the area ready for the big weekend of “magic cups”.

UPDATE 6 - 14/09/17

Over the last week the operable wall on level 5 was completed bringing into the timetable the last two classrooms. The large glass doors and the dividing pinboard and whiteboard wall can be opened out to create an amazing space in the building with views to the city and harbour bridge. Also the Federal Safety Commission undertook an audit of the worksite with a full clearance on workplace safety and procedures.

The works to the Senior School building are about to step up to a new pace to capitalise on the three-week term break and complete the disruptive works before HSC examinations commence. Floor plates have been cleared, new windows and doorways have been cut into brickwork, air conditioning set outs have been made and cable trays are already being installed.

Over the holidays, specialist abseiling demolition teams will remove external louvres opening views to other classrooms on level 5, and the noisy works of demolition to the toilets adjacent to the pool will be occurring. Also more difficult access work required to install the structural steel to extend the floor slab of level three to create a classroom will be undertaken, as well as the installation of the air conditioning, ceiling baffles and cable trays to the teaching spaces within the building.

Our existing furniture is not going to waste. We have already placed most of the tables and chairs into our new classrooms in Senior School Building Level 5 and Carter Building Level 4, however the remaining tables are being donated to Giant Steps in Gladesville. Giant Steps was founded to help educate children and families experiencing autism, to alleviate associated stress and to guide in the achievement of measurable results.

UPDATE 5 - 31/08/17

On Monday last week there was much excitement as Woodward and Strickland were allocated lockers in Level 5 Senior School Building and Level 4 Carter while Levels 1 and 2 of Senior School Building have been handed over to builders for refurbishment. We are using existing lockers in these temporary House areas with the Houses returning to their home House locations next term. The buzz has continued through the week with classes timetabled in the new teaching spaces. Boarders also have had their first session of Boarders Prep in the refurbished level 5 area.

This week levels 1 and 2 will be prepared for demolition, isolating power to walls that will be removed and replaced with glazing while remaining items on the floors to be retained will be packed and stored. Demolition will continue for the remainder of the term. Some external windows will also be removed for replacement. As soon as the holidays start, the builders will commence the more noisy demolition of the toilet areas in Level 1, Level 2 and part of Level 3 as these areas are also to be upgraded.

Works have also been happening at the Senior School around Perkins as we investigate the level and quality of rock under the school to help inform the retaining wall design for Stage 2 works. Preliminary investigations have revealed that in some areas the rock covered by 20m of sand while in other areas it is closer to the surface. This is providing valuable information for engineers as they design the structure of the new Stage 2 works with the architect, builder and specialist piling contractor.

UPDATE 4 - 10/8/17

English staff have moved into their temporary offices on Level 5 of Senior School and shortly the floor will be opened to students as we start internal works on Levels 1 and 2 of Senior School Building.

The Senior School Building is progressively being scaffolded and new windows will be cut into the external wall facing New South Head Road on Level 1 this weekend. These windows will be part of the transformation of the floor to increase light and a sense of space in the building, particularly in this location for English and Languages. Other works beginning to occur on site include the measure and fabrication of steel framing sections as we enclose some of the noisy terraces that face new South Head Road so we can have greater utilisation of the floor areas of this building.

Strickland lockers have already been relocated to Harvey, and these have been well received as they are a little larger and better for storage than Harvey’s previous lockers. Lockers surplus to Harvey’s requirement have been relocated to external areas of Level 4 Carter ahead of the decanting of Strickland to this area after school on Friday 18 August with the majority of Strickland’s temporary locker requirement to be installed in a new internal corridor over the coming week. Woodward’s lockers will also be moved up to Level 5 Senior School with the house to their temporary location over the weekend of 19 August.

Coming up, the Senior School students will see a slight shift in the timetable as Levels 1 and 2 are handed over to the builder for refurbishment while new classrooms on Level 5 Senior School Building and Level 4 Carter are brought into the timetable.

UPDATE 3 - 26/07/17

The works are progressing at pace in the Senior School Building. Over the term break we removed the old air conditioning chillers from the top of the Senior School building, undertook maintenance on the plant room platform and then lifted the new air-conditioning condensers to the plant room platform. This involved a very large crane taking three lanes of New South Head Road for five hours each over two Sundays.

Internally on Level 5 of the Senior School building the walls and ceilings are now in place and carpet is on the floor. Final services such as lighting, and wall finishes, including operable walls are nearly in place. Level 4 Carter is more complex as we have been working around a very sensitive computer switch room, however its walls are now built for four new classrooms and a Housemaster office.

We have also created the new IT Switch room on level 3 of Senior School building in Classroom 3.3. While this room looks a little out of place at the moment, it will line up with walls to the new classrooms and staff room on this level. Its construction now allows cabling to be installed to service all levels of the building as we progressively refurbish the floors.

We are also gearing up for the next stage of works, which is the refurbishment of Levels 1 and 2 of the Senior School Building. Externally you will see scaffolding covering the lower sections of the front of Senior School Building as you walk the footpath along New South Head Road.

A big thankyou to Woodward and Strickland who returned to school this term and very quickly consolidated their lockers in preparation for their upcoming move to temporary House locations on Level 5 Senior School and level 4 Carter respectively. The Social Sciences staff have also moved to their temporary offices for the remainder of the year on level 4 Carter while the English staff will be moving over the weekend of 5 August and be set up in their temporary office on Level 5 Senior School after the School Athletics Day.

UPDATE 2 - 15/06/17

The works on Level 5 are progressing with the installation of air conditioning cassettes in the ceilings. The wall framing is up with electrical and data services roughed in. You can see the half height walls that will have glazing above for the classrooms. A compound is to be established between the building and New South Head Road over the upcoming break to allow an elevated work platform to have access to the louvres and façade of the top floor. The pedestrian gate to New South Head Road and the entrance into Level 1 Senior School Building from that gate will be closed as a result of the compound being in place.

A lot of planning work is still occurring ahead of the refurbishment of full floors on Levels 1 and 2. Clarifications of design are being worked out between the builder and the architect and specialist consultants, and procurement of long lead items such as operable walls is well underway.

One complex issue being tackled is the moving of the main IT switch room that serves the whole building from Level 3. While this floor is at the other end of the construction program, the room itself needs to be constructed early to accommodate the cabling to the newly refurbished areas.

Over the upcoming break there will be a lot of activity on site while students and staff are on term break. The plan is to have Level 5’s four classrooms, three seminar rooms, staff room and Housemaster office ready with level 4 of Bishop/Carter also prepared with four more classrooms and a Housemaster office.


UPDATE 1 - 01/06/17

The refurbishment of the Senior School Building is now becoming real to the broader School as each day we see more builders on site.

There has been a large amount of work in the background these past months with investigations, design, certification of works, testing options on the School timetable, planning decant strategies, and contract negotiations with builders to enable the refurbishment of the Senior School building. The works have three stages – the fitting out of additional classrooms and house areas for decanting to Senior School Level 5 and Carter/Bishop Level 4 followed by refurbishment of Levels 1 and 2 then Levels 3 and 4.

This week saw the installation of scaffolding to allow access to cut in a new window on Level 5 of the Senior School Building and the final cleaning out of Level 4 Carter in preparation of new frames and walls being installed. Works will accelerate rapidly for the remainder of term to establish eight classrooms, two House areas and three seminar rooms.

Over the upcoming term break, Strickland and Woodward along with English and Social Studies staff will relocate to their decant locations and the Library will be reconfigured to an examination space for the trial HSC exams.

All reports by David Hull.