Peter Laskowski was the project manager for the recently completed Astrea Academy primary school project in Sheffield. The project has recently been nominated for a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Award and on 23 April the project was completed, and the school opened to new pupils. Here, Peter explains the project, which included the refurbishment and restoration of a Grade II listed building.
“Astrea Academy is located in Burngreave, a deprived area in north east Sheffield, the aim of the school is to drive up educational standards and to help alleviate the pressure on school places in the city. It will accommodate children from the ages of 2-18 years-old and have an overall capacity of 1,200 pupils.
The school is split over two sites; the primary and secondary schools. The primary will house children up to year four and is based in the Grade II listed former Pye Bank School built in 1875. The secondary school will house pupils from year five to sixth form and is a new build based across the road from the primary site. State of the art technology and facilities will be available in both buildings, with the secondary block including a lecture theatre and 3D printers.
When we started on site at the primary, the Grade II listed building had been left derelict for 13 years. The roof was leaking which had resulted in extensive water damage to the timber roof trusses, floors, and ceilings. The state of the building meant that restoration work was complex. We had to install over 400 tonnes of internal scaffolding to ensure the school remained structurally stable to avoid any lateral restraint movement whilst we removed the building’s floors, ceilings and the majority of the internal walls.
We worked hard to carefully preserve the original features, or if they could not be preserved, we replicated them. We used timber resin splices in order to restore the roof, to do this the team cut rotted timber away and spliced in a new piece of wood. We were able to preserve six of the school’s original doors, two stair railings and a fireplace. The original parquet flooring was replicated throughout due to severe water damage which meant it fell apart when we removed it.
The primary school has well and truly been transported into the 21st Century with state-of-the-art facilities and modernised teaching space. We were thrilled to learn the project has been shortlisted for a Building Conservation RICS Award. These prestigious awards showcase the most inspirational initiatives and developments in land, real estate, construction & infrastructure and celebrate innovative projects in the regions and their impact on local communities.
We’re thrilled to have handed over the school and to see pupils move into their new classroom facilities. I look forward to seeing the positive impact the updated learning environment has on children in the area for years to come.”