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Amazing spaces - school’s state of the art gym

A growing Tauranga school has a new state-of-the gymnasium that is one of the most advanced in the city.

It’s a facility that Babbage Consultants project architect Charlotte Saunders describes as “an amazing space - it’s the most highly functioning space for a school in Tauranga”.

The gym at the Academic Colleges Group (ACG) school in Pyes Pa was finished in May, 2017, 10 months after work started and in spite of the contractors losing five weeks to abysmal weather.

“The school wanted a high performing building and we delivered,” Charlotte said.

Babbage Consultants has worked with ACG since 2014 as the private school began its development, initially with 14 classrooms for junior pupils, and ACG plans to continue expanding as the children move through their grades, ultimately to Year 13.

A key milestone for the school is the gymnasium, which is pivotal to future growth.

“This gives the school a showpiece,” Charlotte said.

The gym consists of a full-size court area for basketball, netball, volleyball and badminton with bleachers on both sides rising from mezzanine level above changing rooms, plant rooms and storage areas. 

The upper floors provide three classrooms that can be converted into a function space overlooking outdoor playing fields and the indoor court.

Inside the gym, each end wall is clad with perforated plywood panels, used for their acoustic properties and to conceal and protect louvers that allow natural ventilation. The double-glazing has a grey tint on the outer glass to reduce glare and solar gain.

The ceiling comprises fibre acoustic tiles and parallel areas of plywood panels, giving the gymnasium precise acoustics. The classrooms have acoustic walls that can be moved to create the function area.

Maximum use has been made of natural ventilation and light, and a building management system includes sensor-controlled lights, security and keyless entry.

“There are no trims or fiddly little spaces. Everything needed to be highly durable, low maintenance and stand the test of time,” Charlotte said.

“We had to be extremely economical in our use of space. There’s not a millimetre wasted - there’s no corner that can’t be used. It’s amazing what’s been achieved.”

The building will be used by the school for sport, fitness and teaching programmes, school assembly and performance, inter-school games, school holiday programmes, gala days and open days.

The school also wants to make the gym available for use by the wider community in the fast-growing suburb, and this helped dictate some of the features, especially around functionality and security.

“I’m especially proud of what the school is getting,” Charlotte said.

“They’ve got amazing quality and value for money.”
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Key personnel

Babbage Consultants
Architects: Maria Ouzounova, Jane Arnott, Charlotte Saunders
Structural: Dr Victor Lam, Xavier Lim
Building services: Matthew Foskin, Ivan Loh, Aslam Javed
Civil: Michael Martin, Bidara Pathirage
Geotechnical: Malcolm Stapleton, Mastufa Al-Haidar

For more information, contact Charlotte Saunders
027 809 7949
charlotte.saunders@babbage.co.nz

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