Adelaide High School, Redevelopment and Refurbishment

Redevelopment and Refurbishment
Adelaide High School
Managing Contractor - GC21
$25 Million


  • Winner 2015 MBA Excellence in Commercial/Industrial Building $20 Million - $50 Million
  • Winner 2015 AIB Professional Excellence in Commercial/Industrial Building $10 Million - $50 Million (SA Chapter)

Adelaide High School’s new learning environment required a three-stage redevelopment which Sarah managed with careful consideration to ensure minimal disruption to students and teachers.

The redevelopment included a new roadway, two-storey learning centre for 250 additional students, sub-basement car park next to an existing State heritage listed building, plus general refurbishments to other existing areas, to maximise social and outdoor spaces. The project also included many environmentally-friendly features, such as the splayed façade and Building Management System (BMS).

Both were included to minimise the use of mechanical services, where possible.


“As Principal of the school, I will never forget seeing students in the new learning spaces on the first day of the opening of the building, using the spaces as they had been intended; evidence of the architects’ and the school’s dreams coming to life!  Hearing the collective “WOW” of students as they entered the spaces for the very first time will stay with me forever.  This has been a project that was a long time in the planning and now completed has had a significant positive impact on our school community.”

Anita Zocchi , Principal - Adelaide High School

Building innovative learning environments.

Adelaide High School
Adelaide High School
Adelaide High School

Sarah worked diligently to over-come project challenges including inclement weather and after-hours service upgrades around operational areas of the school.

The heritage listing required significant diligence and documentation for the archaeological excavation of the original building’s footings.

Sarah worked closely with the school, Department of Education, architects and numerous sub-contractors to deliver all three stages successfully. Stage three was delivered three months ahead of the planned contractual end date enabling students and teachers to commence using the space a full term ahead of original plans.

Adelaide High School
Adelaide High School
Adelaide High School

Design Challenges and Creative Solutions

  • Open courtyard above the original building’s heritage listed footings  designed to replicate the original Adelaide Observatory (as it was from 1859 – 1940). Sarah incorporated some of the original slate and concrete footings, to bring together the old and the new.
  • Introduction of new Test and Inspection plan using Bluebeam viewer software for faster auditing and distribution of results. This aided client comprehension of any defects, leading to quicker solutions and avoiding any impact to the project’s timelines.
  • Splayed front façade and Building Management System (BMS) to prevent unnecessary usage of mechanical services and energy saving.

Client Outcomes

  • Sarah ensured the school was able to operate at all times, without interruption throughout this long and complex project.
  • Regular communication including weekly quality audits with the client and architects, reported project progress and captured important information for the archaeological investigation.
  • The regular updates enabled the school to update neighbours about major site activities that might impact them, such as noisy works.

Sarah Value-Add

  • Program management – Sarah delivered the project 3 months ahead of schedule, enabling the school access a full term earlier than anticipated.
  • Regular on-site communication with subcontractors. This fostered transparency, so all teams could follow the project timeline and ensure they worked towards the common completion date.

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