Hamilton Christian School


I and J Blocks create a new ‘middle school’ area at Hamilton Christian School, connecting the existing junior and senior schools.

The project was stage 1 and 2 of an overall masterplan to develop a “learning street” – a linear space joining multiple classroom spaces, outdoor learning environments, and may include a new gymnasium in time.

There will also be refurbishments to existing classrooms, new playgrounds and upgrades to services and civil infrastructure.

Hamilton Christian School
Hamilton Christian School

About the project

I Block included 757m² of teaching spaces, 170m² of classroom amenities and a 571m² covered outdoor area, while J Block created another 760m² of teaching spaces, and 222m² covered outdoor area.

Key aspects of the design were:

  • Flexible teaching spaces with large, glazed partitions allowing for the spaces to be connected or separated in a variety of configurations to suit specific learning conditions.
  • Large external covered learning spaces that connect the levels together with a double height void and glazed roof opening to capture natural light.
  • The Cross being featured in many aspects of design, faith being central to the school community. A cutout to solid metal balustrade created changing shadows.
  • Red brick, tying back to the original school buildings and offering a tactile surface variation, complimenting the crisp straight edges of the colorsteel.
  • The exposed services to the ground level, painted to offer a pop of colour, also showing the workings of the building - fitting for a space dedicated to learning.
  • The material choices unifying the aesthetic of the school but also sympathetic to the surrounding residential environment.

Notable challenges for I Block included:

  • Ground conditions, requiring deep excavation during the winter period.
  • Significant escalation and supply chain capacity issues. A staged procurement approach helped to mitigate risks.
  • Late identification of future infrastructure meant both the design and construction phases had to make structural, façade and services changes which put pressure on the programme.

Notable challenges for J Block included:

  • A delay in proceeding with the project. This resulted in the need to split consents and work through ground improvements beyond the summer months.
  • Works being undertaken during the peak of construction industry escalation and supply chain capacity issues. Procurement was closely managed during the design period with several trades being awarded based on previously negotiated rates.
  • Structural, envelope and services connections to I Block needing to be coordinated with school holidays.

Early contractor involvement (ECI) was key to successful project delivery, Fosters leading all phases of the project from master planning through to project delivery.

An open book partnership approach with Hamilton Christian School ensured a great design outcome for an agreed budget, with all trades engaged through Fosters’ recommendation. Benefits included a combined architectural package from Edwards White Architects and RTA Studio, while BCD Group and Fluid Engineering were engaged for engineering services. The School had full budget transparency.

Completion date






Client testimonial

Hamilton Christian School’s roll has grown hugely, increasing from 440 students in 2020 to more than 900 today.

To cater for this growth, Hamilton Christian Schools Incorporated (HCS Inc), which owns the state-integrated school’s land and buildings, launched an extensive campus upgrade in 2020.

Operations Executive, Esré Bezuidenhout, said HCS Inc approached Fosters based on their reputation for building excellence, and they were immediately impressed.

“We found we had values that aligned,” she said. “When people walk through my door, I put everything aside to help them, and I felt Fosters did the same for us.”

The total project includes the construction of two new blocks (I and J) featuring multiple classroom spaces, with outdoor learning environments, playgrounds and a gym to be added later.

Through Early Contractor Involvement (ECI), Fosters was engaged from the outset.

“It wouldn’t have come together as well if the builders weren’t in the room from the start,” Esré said. “They knew what we could achieve on the budget we had, and they brought a lot of pragmatism to the table, which meant we would never go off on a tangent. They were always looking at ways to save us time and money.”

Hamilton Christian School
Hamilton Christian School

Fosters ran the project on an open-book basis to give the board complete budget transparency.

“There was never a point where we felt we couldn’t ask questions,” Esré said. “We had full access to all of the invoices throughout the whole tender process.”

The company also used its expertise to suggest best-fit subcontractors.

“I can’t remember a single time when we pushed back on one of their recommendations,” Esré said.

“Fosters have all the relationships within the industry; they’re very well-known and the tradies enjoy working with them. I was really impressed with them in that space.”

She feels the company’s biggest strength lies in its client relationships.

“For Fosters, it’s not just about winning a project; they really care about what happens here at our school and they want to see us succeed,” she said.

Hamilton Christian School
Hamilton Christian School

“For Fosters, it’s not just about winning a project; they really care about what happens here at our school and they want to see us succeed.”

Esré Bezuidenhout, Operations Executive Hamilton Christian Schools Incorporated

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