Renovation of existing sports centre and design of Mercy Garden.
Stage 2 of EIW Architects involvement at Santa Maria College evolved as part of the Federal Government’s BER program. The existing Sports Centre, with stage and change rooms was completely renovated internally, and a new full size court with retractable seating built adjacent. The two large spaces are integrated to create the impression of one building, with external rendering and new roofing tying the existing building into the developing aesthetic of the College. The two sports spaces are divided by an operable wall which can be opened to allow for a full school assembly or performances when required. Due to the high acoustic nature of the dividing wall, noisy sports activities can occur at the same time as other learning activities, giving flexibility to the internal spaces. As part of the new works, additional facilities were included such as a weights room, sports teaching classrooms, and a small commercial kitchen for events.
Following completion of the Hall Building, attention turned to the empty space between the two buildings, which had by now been a sandy, off-limits construction site for three years. At 2250 sqm and with a 4.5 metre fall across the site, EIW Architects recognised the space could be utilised for many learning opportunities. Following initial consultation with landscape architect Gardens From Eden, a concept for a mix of spaces for different sized class groups was developed. A circular seating wall encloses one of the original jacaranda trees on the site, with the Colleges values embossed in stainless steel in the paving. An amphitheatre space has the capacity for two classes for an outdoor classroom experience or performance and flat spaces are large enough for volleyball courts if required. The Mercy Garden is an extension to the learning spaces offered at the College, and has also been used for after-hours concerts and performances.