A consortium specialising in new projects for the Ministry of Education has completed Papamoa College in record time.
Comprised of Hawkins Construction Ltd as the main contractor, ASC Architects as the architects and lead consultants, Buller George Turkington as the consulting engineers, and GHD Ltd as the services engineers, the consortium proved its capabilities by designing and building the Year 7–13 college in Tauranga East in only 18 months.
It is earmarked for a five star Green Star sustainability rating for its design.
Shannon Jeory was the lead ASC architect assigned to the college project.
“We are currently completing Round 2 of the submission for certification. The design must be awarded points by the New Zealand Green Building Council for initiatives such as sustainable management practices in the construction of the building, and in its ongoing operation and maintenance,” Mr Jeory says.
“Other Green Star criteria include sustainable water management, eco materials selection (the steel, for example, imported from Asia had been recycled), sustainable transport initiatives, emissions reduction, improved indoor air quality, reduced energy consumption and measures to reduce the ecological impact.
“All of these have been incorporated into the design of Papamoa College to a varying degree.”
The rendering of the college structure is taken directly from Buller George Turkington’s 3-D model. The ground conditions in an area of high seismic activity means there is a potential for liquefaction.
The solution was to sink 6m timber piles and encase these at ground level in concrete pads. The pads carry the normal vertical load while the piles resist the horizontal loading.
Shaped like an inverted “Y”, the two-storey structure has two single-storey buildings that are contiguous — the nearer and larger of the two is the gymnasium and beyond this is the theatre. Roughly at the centre of the “Y” is the bridge connecting the wings via an elevated walkway.
Buller George project engineer Karl Dawe describes the building as consisting primarily of limited ductility moment-resisting frames.
“The columns consist of custom-fabricated box sections which are concrete filled for fire-rating considerations. Custom-welded beams one metre deep are passed through the columns, haunched and welded, with penetrations for building services already in place,” Mr Dawe says.
“The design is a reverse of the norm that, in the event of a major earthquake, would see the interaction of strong columns and weak beams. Here we have strong beams taking on the loading while the weakened columns play a hinge role, dissipating earthquake energy to the piling. Above the first floor, there are lightweight portal frames.”
Essentially Papamoa College has four main components — the learning commons occupying the wings of the “Y”, the bridge and elevated walkway, and the two single-story buildings, the gym and the theatre.
All of these have been designed to be seismically separate. In the long direction of the wings, the loading is catered for by the action of moment-resisting frames. In the transverse direction, the deep, haunched beams take the load.
Both the gym and the theatre have intense steel bracing because of the sheer height of their ceilings and that ever-present possibility of liquefaction.
Papamoa College currently has 660 teaching places, expandable to 1100 when the “Y” will grow into an “X”.
All the necessary infrastructure is already in place. It is a combined intermediate and high school without cellular classrooms — here, learning is not subject-based but inquiry-based.
Six teachers and 100 pupils occupy a single learning common. One piece of knowledge they will be glad to share is the fact that their school has been designed to withstand a one in 1000-year earthquake, and remain functional after the event.
Hawkins project manager John Overton says with a design/build project, you get closer to the consultants.
“They tackled the ground conditions with great design solutions, enabling Jensen Steel Fabricators to get cracking in their workshops, locating optional splice points and pre-assembling complex units of steel before taking them on site for rapid erection,” Mr Overton says.
“They also expedited matters by filling the box sections with concrete to avoid pouring on site. That set the pace, and nobody was going to let the team down. We came in on time and on budget.
“I heard Shannon Jeory say that Jensen Steel Fabricators and the other subcontractors went ‘above and beyond’.
“I’d agree. Because they were mostly local, they took real Tauranga pride in their work, making this school project outstanding.”