Our iconic Rooftop transformation continues
Friday, 3 March 2023

Over the summer holidays, renovations on the St Andrew’s House rooftop have been in full swing. We sat down with Director of Community Engagement Lyn Jarvis who helped oversee the renovation project to find out what has been done.  

RH: Why is the rooftop so special for our entire community? 

LJ: Our iconic rooftop has been associated with all parts of the School and it's one of the things that's always been so unique. It's something that people know about SACS - “you’re that school with the rooftop playground” they say. It's also used more than any other space we have in the School.  Every student that's been through SACS since 1976 has spent some time on the rooftop. It's where we play. It's where we chat, do sport, hold events, where we relax and where we form our friendships. It's just very integral to who we are as a School. 

RH: So, Stage One of the renovations were completed last year, largely thanks to our successful 2022 Giving Day. What changes have those funds allowed to be made. 

LJ: The rooftop was looking quite tired. It had been a while since it was given a bit of love. We held lots of focus groups to see what everyone wanted – we held them with students of all ages, with staff from all areas, with parents, and with Old Andreans. The main thing that everyone in our community wanted was for it to look brighter and more contemporary. The roof has been painted - there's a fantastic land to sea theme that expands as you go around the rooftop. It looks vibrant - the colours pop!  

It was also important to have some plants there because, you know, we are in a high rise building in the city and Kirrikee is a long way away. We have some wonderful climbing plants that are already starting to really grow and flourish. We also have a chicken palace – for those who aren’t aware we've had chickens on the roof for a while, not all our Old Andreans will know that. We were wondering whether that was something that the community valued and discovered the students were incredibly passionate about their chickens. So, they have this fantastic new palace, which we call it, with a chicken run. The chickens are named Teriyaki and Nugget – the students named them, and, they really enjoy their new home and the students enjoy visiting them.  

The other priority for the students, because this is their playground, was to make the space as usable as possible for all ages. In terms of play - handball courts for example are incredibly important to Junior School and we've added more.  Basketball is also a high priority for students of all ages so we’ve done some extra line markings for them so they can score their three-point goals. We've got netball goals of two different heights, depending on what age you are.  Soccer goals were a huge priority – all tthat he Year 9 boys wanted were soccer goals, so we made that happen. We also refurbished the student bathrooms and the rooftop canteen space was extended.  

Down at the south end – we completely changed the look and feel of the place. There are outdoor blackboards for creative play and there are two climbing walls. One is a transverse wall which takes you sideways and one is a vertical climbing wall that the kids absolutely love. There are some turf mounds that the kids can climb all over and balance and use for creative play as well. There are also some massive cupboards, which may not sound exciting but are incredibly helpful for storing equipment and resources that can be used for all the various activities. 

RH: We've made lots of changes and that was Stage One. So arguably, the rooftop has gone from maybe a bit tired to good and now we're hopefully trying to make it great?  

LJ: Yep. So, there are several things left to be done.  

Many Old Andreans will know there was a big bronze cast crest of the School from 1976 that was beginning to look quite battered and tired. Our Year 12 parents and students last year fundraised for that – our newest Old Andreans. That’s being currently restored and a new one is being created for Gawura. Once they've been completed, they will be placed on the rooftop. We also need a play cube for Junior School. Unfortunately, last time we didn't manage to raise enough funds to get the play equipment that we wanted - slides, climbing, rope swings, all that sort of stuff, so we are looking to incorporate that in Stage Two of the renovations.  

Another thing we really want to do is replace the Dreaming mural with one from an Aboriginal artist. We also want to improve the AV – we haven't got consistent Wi-Fi up there yet. We still really want to get an outdoor television up there so that we can use it for classes and for events. We would love to hold our reunions up there and be able to share photos of the Old Andreans when they were at school, so we need improved AV capability. We'd also like to have good nighttime lighting to really create a great atmosphere when they come up there so that it can really extend the rooftop for the students during the day and then for the wider community in the evenings and weekends. The footop at nighttime, with the city skyline can be magical place.