Business South April 2022

16 | Catholic Diocese of Christchurch - Marian College DEVELOPMENT Warehouse repurposed into college Richard Loader To transform the building from warehouse to a more architecturally pleasing educational facility, the building was reduced to about a hectare in size, and modifications made to the front and sides of the existing structure. Transforming a very large warehouse/ distribution centre into a contemporary and all encompassing girls college might seem a challenge but for the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch it is a very exciting and unique opportunity. Marian College is a Catholic state integrated school for girls and had been located in North Parade in Shirley until severe earthquake damage deemed it unfit for purpose. When the Diocese made the decision to relocate the school to the northwest of Christchurch the perfect location was found in Lydia Street, just off Northcote Road, close to St Bedes and adjoining St Josephs primary school. The land offered for sale came complete with very large warehouse/distribution centre. Covering 1.7 hectares, the building was one of the largest in the South Island. Shaun Mitchell, client representative for the project says the Diocese master planned three options with the existing building, including knocking it down and building a new school from fresh, or retaining the entire building and fitting it out, or reaching a compromise solution by knocking part of the building down and repurposing the remainder as the new school. “Some of the structure, size and spans of the existing building suited the gymnasium and indoor courts and it became apparent that knocking the building down was wasteful. So retaining a good portion of the building, doing a massive fit-out to accommodate the entre school became the option of choice. So it’s a pretty unique and exciting project.” The large rectangular distribution centre had been built in different stages over the years, using a variety of materials with a predominance of colour steel and tilt slab concrete. The building also had a natural architectural flair to it with a broad multi-gable pitched roof. While the Diocese had already formulated a strong vision for the new school, that vision was reinforced by the engagement of Christchurch architectural practice Sheppard & Rout who brought with them a focus on maximising the use of space, and creating airy and light interiors. To transform the building from warehouse to a more architecturally pleasing educational facility, the building was reduced to about a hectare in size, and modifications made to the front and sides of the existing structure. Large roller doors and other panels were replaced with glazing, allowing natural light to flood the interior of the building, creating a light and bright learning environment. Internally, there will be everything the school needs with room to expand in the future if required. “There are two levels of spacious classrooms to accommodate the schools 430 year 9 – 13 students,” says Shaun. “As well as classrooms on the ground level there is a full size gymnasium, an administration block, two full size indoor courts and two three quarter sized indoor netball courts, a performing arts block and a library.” “The gym is single level but it has a very high stud and there will be the opportunity for seating above the performing arts areas that will also look out over the gymnasium. A chapel will be located front and centre of the ground floor. The upper level classrooms will all be connected by air bridges.” Landscaped outdoor grounds and a full size sports field will complement the internal facilities. Shaun says achieving Green Star Certification, which assesses the important elements of a project’s sustainability across key categories including materials, energy use, water savings, is also a key part of the project. Christchurch builder Armitage Williams was engaged as lead contractor following a competitive tender process. “We’ve worked with Armitage Williams before and they have a reputation as a very good contractor, well organised and know how to deliver complex projects. They also want to get it right for you and they like to build relationships.” The construction project commenced late last year with a significant amount of seismic strengthening needed to bring the building up to the standard required for an educational facility. Notwithstanding supply chain issues and the timely delivery of materials, Shaun expects the project to be completed mid way through 2023. T: 03 366 1777 • E: • W: Structural • Mechanical • Electrical Fire • Civil • Hydraulic • Acoustic Powell Fenwick is proud to have provided engineering services for the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch Proud to support the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch