ACG College Tauranga Hero

ACG College Tauranga

Over the last 20 years the population of Tauranga has doubled and is set to continue to grow – it’s one of New Zealand’s fastest growing cities. As a result, many schools in the area are stretched.

Academic Colleges Group (ACG) is New Zealand’s largest private educational provider of school education, university foundation studies and tertiary training programmes.  It owns and operates fifteen preschools, schools and tertiary colleges in New Zealand, one in Vietnam and one in Indonesia.

In April 2014, Hawkins was engaged as building contractors to develop a 14ha site (formerly a kiwifruit orchard) into a state-of-the-art school campus, which will ultimately offer co-educational schooling to around 700 students from early childhood through to Year 13.


ACG’s aims:

  • To ultimately provide full tertiary education from early childhood through to University age.
  • To enable pupils to flourish in a family-oriented environment throughout their academic career.

What we did:

This was a fast tracked design and build project. The first stage involved constructing a precast panel and blockwork primary school and 50% of the total carparks. The primary school comprises:

  • 11 classrooms
  • 3 specialist rooms
  • 6 resource rooms
  • Covered walkways
  • Playground areas
  • Fencing 
  • Landscaping with automatic irrigation
  • A precast panel utility building with a fresh water bore and water treatment plant, fire pump room, electrical room and emergency diesel generator
  • A common services trench to run all electrical, potable water and fire service pipework
  • A 350,000 litre timber water storage tank supplied by a cold water bore. This supplies the school with all its water needs and feeds the fire and sprinkler system. The bore also irrigates all play areas, gardens and playing fields
  • A waste water treatment plant and effluent field.

The school also has a geothermal hot water bore on site for future development. The school’s precast panel construction helps with the thermal control of the building and its Building Management System can be controlled both locally and in Auckland.

We commenced construction in June 2014 and achieved practical completion on the first stage, just 8 months later in February 2015, thanks to some fantastic teamwork.

The contractual requirement specified two handovers – one on the 26 January in time for the start of the 2015 school year and the other on the 27 February 2015. The first handover specified two specialist rooms, two specialist resource rooms, two classrooms, another resource room and the toilets. We delivered all of these plus four additional classrooms, another resource room, the playground and the grassed area.
We handed over the remaining rooms – five classrooms, toilets, two resource rooms and an equipment store on the 27 February.

Unique challenges:

  • The site was cut and filled, so we used a raft foundation design for the cut section and a piled solution for the fill section. However, the required depth of the piles wasn’t known until we started work and we ended up installing them from a depth of 10 metres down to 36 metres. This meant we had to rejig the programme to meet the required timeframe, which we did by splitting the build into two phases – the first comprised 7 classrooms which we delivered at the start of January 2015 (the client required two classrooms by this date), the second comprised the remaining 5 classrooms which we delivered in late February 2015.
  • The client’s requirement was to have two classrooms completed in time for a planned open day on 15 November 2014. We were able to deliver this, which ultimately helped them to attract pupils for the start of the 2015 school year.

The outcome:

The client specified that we needed to handover two specialist rooms, two specialist resource rooms, two classrooms, another resource room and the toilets on 26 January. We delivered these, plus four additional classrooms, another resource room, the playground and the grassed area, and completed the entire project on time and on budget. The client was delighted.

The school provides a focal point for the local community and students, teachers and parents use the local community facilities: helping to inject money into the local economy.