Hutt Valley High School

Block B Seismic Upgrade

As a well-established secondary school, Hutt Valley High takes pride in its campus and facilities. The school was keen to upgrade its largest and oldest classroom block, B Block, transforming the space into a flexible and inspirational 21st Century learning environment, while also the aligning the building with current seismic and accessibility standards.

B Block was constructed in stages from c.1940 to c.1970, which were identified as requiring a significant seismic and accessibility upgrade.

Subject to a tight timeframe and budget, this project required careful targeting of priority areas for architectural input that extended beyond the making good of structural interventions. These included:

  • The Science Department’s teacher office and resource space, which was small, crowded and badly planned
  • The Social Science classrooms, which were unevenly sized and dated
  • The connection point of the two wings which had a variety of different floor levels

After being awarded the project, S&T worked with structural engineers to conduct a number of on-site investigations establishing what was required to bring the buildings up to code and Ministry of Education standards. At the same time the team met with the school management to determine how they wanted to improve the look and feel of the classrooms and to prioritise the proposed architectural improvements.

The final design includes seismic strengthening by way of steel portal frames and the addition of bracing elements to existing walls and ceilings. Access between the two wings was improved with new external doors at ground floor level and a circulation hub on the first floor. An additional lift was also installed.

The replacement of solid walls with glazed sliding doors and partitions between classrooms and in staff areas give a lighter, communal feel and allow more versatility in how spaces are used. Staff offices and the resource room were also rearranged, opening up these areas to provide meeting spaces, kitchenettes, and better storage capacity. Finally, new finishes in selected parts of the building brought the interior design up to standard with newer school blocks, and give a clean and modern feel.

The completed project has received high praise from school staff, who are now enjoying more functional and pleasant office areas and resource rooms, and who have more flexibility in their classrooms.

Project Team