Botany Downs Secondary School Hero

Botany Downs Secondary School


Hawkins was contracted by the Ministry of Education under a design and build contract to deliver what was, at the time, New Zealand's first public secondary school to be built in 20 years.

The educational philosophy that drove the design of this school was one based around a focus on dissolving traditional subject boundaries, integrating more with the community and an overarching direction of lifelong learning. The design also incorporated a range of environmentally sustainable features that would reduce the school's energy use, and the buildings themselves were detailed so that they could be operated as flexible teaching devices, extending the scope of secondary education to meet the challenges of the future.

In just 11 months Hawkins constructed Stage 1 of Botany Downs Secondary School. Hawkins was proactive in working with the consultants to resolve detailing issues and ensure the project stayed on schedule.

Three teaching blocks were constructed using structural steel frames, precast floors and metal cladding to create classrooms, laboratories, food technology and woodwork/metalwork facilities. In the gymnasium a unique 300 square metre feature wall was constructed from exposed riverbed stone set in a precast concrete panel. Additionally, Hawkins built an administration building, a 366-seat performing arts facility, library and tennis/netball courts.

In spite of a delayed construction start on Stage 2, with the design and construction methodology being reviewed to substantially reduce costs, the project was completed six weeks ahead of programme.

This second stage included three new two-storey blocks with five classrooms on each ground floor and four specialist classrooms on each upper level. Working in an operating environment and with only one shared point of site access for suppliers, contractors, 1000 students and 80 staff, Hawkins was ever-mindful of keeping the school functioning normally throughout construction. Safety was also a priority, and traffic movements were well managed so as not to interfere with student traffic; additionally, hoardings were put in place to minimise visual distractions and noise.