Sustainable Designs for New School Developments

Woolacotts Consulting Engineers were proud to be involved in the development of Oran Park High School and Primary School, and Gledswood Hills Primary School. Woolacotts were engaged by Perumal Pedavoli Architects and Hindmarsh Construction Australia to provide Structural, Civil, Hydraulic and Traffic engineering design consultancy services on these projects, which are now finished and operational.

Gledswood Hills Public School

Gledswood Hills Public School was built to cater to current and anticipated enrollment growth in the South-West Sydney area. The new school currently holds up to 600 students and will later cater to up to 1000 students after the second stage of development is complete.

Currently the school features:

  • 24 Classrooms across 5 blocks with link connections provided for future classrooms
  • A library with tiered learning space and assembly hall
  • Indoor sporting courts and outdoor playing courts
  • Students amenities and administration offices
  • Landscape areas incorporating tiered seating
  • On site parking for 45 cars with provisions for 30 cars in the second stage


Featured above: Gledswood Hills Public School learning space

The design of the new school presented numerous unique challenges such as significant fall across the site and large span areas to suit new teaching spaces. These challenges required Woolacotts’ civil and structural teams to come up with design solutions that reduce overall project costs and assisted with construction.

Some of the these solutions included:

  • Using the latest 3D bulk earthworks modelling software to achieve a balanced cut and fill
  • Prestressed concrete for the upper floors of the 5 blocks to economically provide large span areas to suit the new teaching spaces and provide future planning flexibility
  • The design of the library’s two-story atrium space, incorporating full heigh glazing on the two elevations
  • Designing storm water infrastructure and site levels with provisions for future parking areas and learning spaces
  • Enhancing subbase design to allow for the construction of car parks in very poor soil conditions without having to excavate and replace large quantities of soil.

Featured above: School NSW new school developments video

The school is situated on a significant slope, with ancillary facilities located on the highest side of the site and the classroom blocks following down the slop. The Woolacotts team utilised engineering design expertise and experience to develop the site benching and associated retaining structures to enable the constructions of the buildings and landscape structures on the sloping site.”

– Kevin Christesen, Principal Engineer Sydney Office

With a school that would eventually cater for 1000 students, Woolacotts’ traffic engineering team faced the challenge of ensuring the safety of staff and students in a densely trafficked area. To deal with these challenges, Woolacotts developed an Operational Traffic Management Plan which involved adopting additional measures such as new pedestrian crossings, refuges, sign postings and painting.

In addition to the Operational Traffic Management Plan, the traffic engineering team also developed a Green Travel Plan which encourages the use and implementation of sustainable transport to the school. This has the overall benefit of reducing carbon emissions as well as road congestion in the area.

Innovative Designs for Population Growth at Oran Park Public and Oran Park High School

Oran Park Public and Oran Park High School cater to a rapidly developing suburb in South-West Sydney. In response to this growth, a new high school was built to co-locate with the existing primary school. The new high school caters to 2000 students from Years 7 – 12 and was designed in line with modern educational practices, which include the construction of flexible learning spaces that have the ability to change with future developments in technology.



Featured above: Oran Park High School flexible learning space

The high school, located adjacent to the existing primary school, was built on an undeveloped part of the site. The school consists of a number of wings, with one wing connecting through to the primary school. This has allowed students to move freely between the primary and high school sites via a dedicated middle school. The school also features a large hall which allows for two full sized basketball courts within the building. The Woolacotts structural team designed this building with a clear span of 33m and a sloping 7-10m high ceiling to achieve the desired open space.

The external areas of the school were designed by our Civil team. The design included large areas of pavement, needed for the gathering of large groups of students, and storm water management measures to treat storm water from the site. Woolacotts also undertook the design of hydraulic services, including a rainwater harvesting system used for toilet flushing and irrigation to reduce the amount of potable water supplied to the site.

On this project Woolacotts implemented a number of innovative design solutions. These included:

  • Dedicated penetration zones in the beam elements to simplify co-ordination for services installation.
  • Utilised the OSD tank as a combined rainwater retention, storm water quality treatment and detention to control off-site flow rates and negate the need for three different systems and tanks.
  • Adopted 2016 (Australian rainfall and runoff) to reduce detention tank storage volumes
  • Increased the gas pressure to 35 kPa to reduce the size of the gas lines running around the site
  • Liaised with Sydney Water for a new sewer connection point, reducing the length of sewerage line run by 50 meters, saving excavation and installation cost’s
  • Designed out the grease arrestor and trade waste system
  • Our Structural and civil teams worked closely together to minimise retaining walls and folds along the interface between building structure and civil pavement.


Featured above: Oran Park Public School Exterior

Similar to the Gledswood Hills Public School project, the Woolacotts traffic engineering team developed a Green Travel Plan for the new connecting schools in accordance with the latest research in environmentally friendly transport. The plan features sustainable transport initiatives such as walking and cycling, public transport and car-pooling, and outlines the strategies to achieve them.

Throughout the delivery of these projects, Woolacotts ensured that Structural, Civil, Hydraulic and Traffic engineering designs were intelligently adapted to site, community and environmental requirements. The integration of new technologies and strategic engineering solutions maximised efficiency within these projects, without compromising on functionality.

To learn more about the Woolacotts Education portfolio, visit our projects page here.