A Premiership Project

The Port Adelaide Football Club is South Australia’s oldest football club, and the most successful league club in Australia.

It’s no secret that Sarah Constructions is home to many Port Adelaide fanatics, with Managing Director James Sarah the company’s self-professed cheer squad leader.

When the opportunity arose to tender for the Club’s $25 million Allan Scott Headquarters Upgrade and new High-Performance Centre, Sarah assembled a team of passionate and experienced construction professionals, firmly focused on the Club’s future success.

In 2022, Sarah was thrilled to be the successful contractor, the project continuing the successful construction partnership with the Club following an upgrade to the heritage Fos Williams Family Stand in 2021.

The iconic project includes refurbishment of the existing Allan Scott Headquarters along with the construction of new office spaces, changerooms, amenities, storerooms, playing surfaces, carparking areas and high-performance training facilities.

The new MG High Performance Centre includes an indoor training field, two international standard basketball courts, a soccer pitch, gymnasium, wet recovery areas, locker room, lecture theatre, medical amenities, commercial standard kitchen, player wellness space, and media studio.

The project has transformed Alberton Oval into a world class high-performance sport precinct for the Club’s AFL and AFLW teams, provides facilities for local junior sport, and significantly improved greenspaces for community use.

In this post we look at the values and behaviours that led Sarah to deliver this iconic, high-quality project on time, on budget, and exceed the expectations of the Port Adelaide Football Club and its stakeholders.

“We are going to run as a team; this is going to be an absolute premiership project.”
James Sarah – Managing Director, Sarah Constructions

Shared Values

Port Adelaide’s 150-year history is underpinned by the values of hard work and determination and a commitment to building respectful, trusted relationships with its players, personnel and supporters.

Like Port Adelaide, Sarah Constructions is a proudly South Australian organisation, and our success is due to the investment we make in relationships, and truly understanding the needs of our clients.

Chief Executive Officer Adrian Esplin explains why this project was an ideal match for Sarah’s capabilities:

“Sarah’s tagline is ‘building great relationships’, but it’s more than just something we say.

“We love working as part of a team to deliver something that is so much better than what we can achieve alone.

“Our previous experience delivering the Fos Williams Family Stand allowed us to build a strong relationship characterised by trust, to understand the people and the culture that drive the Club and appreciate the importance of delivering the next project.

“This iconic project really showcased our strength in working as a one team alongside the Club, its consultants, and the community, to deliver true value for South Australians.”

The Right Team for the Job

Sarah’s Site Supervisor, Daniel Leopardi, is also a fervent Port Adelaide fan and has been involved in the project since the tender phase.

“As a child going to matches with your family, you don’t imagine that you will grow up and have a chance to be involved in something you love so much.

“We knew the project would have construction challenges, but our team was handpicked with the job in mind.

“Our personnel were selected for their exceptional performance on the Fos Williams Family Stand, and a best-for-Club approach to problem solving.

“We understood the criticality of this project in future-proofing the Club’s performance, and the importance of the upgraded facilities for junior sport and the community.

“Sarah’s team included personnel with significant experience delivering world class sporting surfaces, and the ability to work collaboratively with suppliers and subcontractors to deliver state-of-the-art sports infrastructure.

“As a huge Port fan, I am personally very proud of the relationships our team has built with the Port Adelaide Football Club and the opportunity to contribute to the growth of the club and the players.

“But more importantly, our team has spent two and a half years on site, and in that time, I have seen the culture really develop.

“I know that people have really enjoyed coming to work and making a difference to something special.”

Maintaining a Best-for-Club Approach

Sarah’s focus on maximising benefits and value for the Club was always front of mind when faced with construction challenges.

The team understood the criticality of completing the works between the end of season and commencement of pre-season training, to return players and personnel to optimal environments as quickly as possible.

Daniel Leopardi explains how the Club’s requirements influenced Sarah’s construction approach.

“During a critical period of our works, the Club communicated that lighting towers were to be installed across the precinct, including in front of our work zone.

“Although these activities required us to delay some works, we quickly moved construction to other work fronts and worked with the lighting contractor to coordinate service shutdowns and provide safe access to our site.

“This is just one example of how our team put the needs of the Club first and found ways to keep work progressing as scheduled.”

A Premiership Project

The Allan Scott Headquarters Upgrade and the MG High Performance Centre were officially opened by the Hon MP Mark Bulter, as scheduled in February 2024, at an event attended by hundreds of VIPs, players, and supporters.

The Club’s chairman David Koch was in attendance to thank Sarah’s team:

“Alberton Oval is transforming into a world-class sports and recreational precinct and will be a space for the community, our members, and fans to enjoy for many years to come.

On behalf of everyone at the Port Adelaide Football Club, I would like to thank our builders Sarah Constructions.”

Sarah Constructions is proud to have partnered with the Port Adelaide Football Club on the next chapter of the Club’s rich history.

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