Thornbury High School’s Sports Hall and Performing Arts Centre has transformed the school’s outdated facilities into an exemplar education setting that has revitalised the school for students, staff and the wider community. The Sports Hall and Performing Arts Centre includes a competition grade basketball court, gym, change rooms, a 360 seat capacity performance space, a digital media studio, four music spaces, a drama studio and workshop spaces.

An innovative approach to adaptive reuse saw the school’s outdated 1980s sports hall undergo a complex refit and re-skinning to become the new centre, with the project representing a major focus for reinvigorating the school’s image and further encouraging student engagement and participation. The Sports Hall and Performing Arts Centre has also become a civic asset for the local community and is in regular use outside school hours.

Materials were carefully chosen for their warmth, with a mixture of bright feature floor and wall finishes and natural timber cladding in high traffic areas. Lighting was replaced with LED strip lighting laid out to improve the overall feel of the space. Natural light flows into the centre of the old hall through a large clearstory light in the existing main roof, allowing for the otherwise internal space to become an inviting focal core that links all the main uses.

A testament to the project’s overwhelming success, Thornbury High School was chosen as the venue to deliver the 2020-21 Victorian State Budget announcement by Premier Daniel Andrews along with Deputy Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino.