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An Innovative New Hub for a Sports-Proud Community

Project Highlights

  • A new vibrant sporting hub in the center of Port Pirie.
  • Injected more than AUD $4 million into the local community.
  • Our Role

    The project scope included the development and detailed structural & civil design work for a function centre, an aquatic centre incorporating a purpose-built gymnastics hall, squash courts and a swimming facility; and realignment of two ovals hosting Australian Rules Football (AFL), soccer, cricket and baseball. Onsite parking, new floodlighting, new change rooms, canteen and toilets, and a connection to the existing heritage grandstand were required.

    SMEC was responsible for detailed structural and civil design on the project, as well as construction supervision of the aquatic centre, function centre and the new tiered grandstand seating.

    Our team leveraged their knowledge of sports facilities and collaborated with traffic, geotechnical, civil, and structural engineers with the Port Pirie Regional Council’s Project Management team to deliver an outstanding facility. Complex geotechnical and drainage conditions challenged the project, and a bold architectural vision pushed our design abilities.

    Project Overview

    Port Pirie is a regional city and seaport town in South Australia made up of a community of sports-proud people. Its residents’ passion for sports was the catalyst for creating a robust economic drawcard for the region through the enhanced $25m Port Pirie Sports Precinct.

    In 2013, SMEC was commissioned to review and consider options for consolidating and upgrading the region's ageing sporting infrastructure. Following our report findings, SMEC was appointed to the detailed design phase of the project in 2016.

    The Outcomes

    Construction was completed in December 2018, just in time for the community to host its 2019 Regional Swimming Championships and 2019 State Masters Games.

    Applying lateral thinking combined with strong civil and structural knowledge, our specialists developed several innovative solutions to ensure the sports hub was architecturally pleasing while also functional and maintainable from an engineering perspective. These included:

  • Intricate grading and site design to ensure maintainable and well drained fields
  • A geotechnical system of piles combined with raft slabs to cope with differential movement caused by poor soil conditions in the area
  • A structural design of raking beams to ensure architectural features are showcased
  • Innovative usage of cantilevered steel beams to provide tiered seating with good sightlines.

  • After nine years in the making, the project has paid off in more ways than one, with the Port Pirie Regional Council estimating it has already injected more than four million dollars into the local community.

    The vibrant sporting hub in the centre of Port Pirie has attracted major sporting events to the area, as part of Council's event tourism strategy, and assisted in rejuvenating the Central Business District (CBD).

    "SMEC provided services in a timely manner to enable Port Pirie Regional Council and the construction team to meet the tight construction schedule and work in well with all other consultants.″ -Port Pirie Regional Council

    Technical Area:
    Urban Development
    Port Pirie Regional Council

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