The Challenge:

As part of the Government's 'Priority Schools Building Programme 2’ the Department for Education noted the need for the design and build of a new school to replace the existing early 1950s school building on site. After extensive investigation and consideration, the existing Art Deco inspired school building was deemed to be at the end of its usable life and no longer in a state of repair, this was due to its poor structural condition and the extent of asbestos-containing materials found.

The main priority for the design of the new teaching and sports hall blocks was to clearly organise the space that would facilitate the provision of the curriculum in accordance with the authority’s requirements and the school’s specific brief, meeting the needs of the pupils, staff and community alike. It was also important for the team to work in collaboration with Kent County Council’s planning and heritage team to ensure that homage would be paid to the original school building which had stood strong for over 80 years.

The Solution:

Our approach to the design of the new school was sympathetic to the original building and pays homage to it by incorporating a window layout reminiscent of the original 1950s design. The original building was demolished, the parking arrangements revised and the existing MUGA was replaced with a new two-court MUGA which aids the school in providing a new secure line to the site.

By driving the costs down within every element of the scheme, Kier developed a solution that fully met the School's key design drivers. Our team adopted an integrated design approach and worked very quickly to produce a comprehensive set of proposals at each stage that reflected our commitment to provide the best possible solution in a collaborative and transparent manner.

Off-site prefabrication was undertaken for the steel frame, the pre-cast concrete for the floor and stairs, and all fixed furniture, thereby reducing the initial programme time and costs of the project. There was also a focus on sustainability with the installation of a bat box, an insect hotel and a donation of a bat detector. 

The Impact:

The new school provides 7,500m² of teaching space and includes 18 classrooms, a three-court sports hall with separate changing facilities, external social spaces and a multi-use games area which will comprise of two Sports England compliant games courts, including provision for tennis, netball, basketball and hockey.

The new building’s design meets the requirements of the curriculum, pays homage to the original building and reduces its footprint at each level. It maintains the original school’s existing entrances onto and around the site and provides an increase in open space to be utilised.

Social Value was also a key focus for the team and they worked closely with the school’s Heads of Department to create their Construction Ambassadors Programme through which they encouraged the next generation to consider a job in construction and also promoted women’s roles in the industry.  Our team developed a strong and highly connected relationship with the client and end users to ensure a 10/10 customer satisfaction throughout the longevity of the contract and construction period.

" I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank the Kier team for delivering a great building on time. Considering you have recovered approximately 10 weeks of setbacks due to Storms Cara and Dennis and then COVID lockdowns this is a really great result. "
Kevin Powley Project Director Department for Education

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