The Challenge:

The redevelopment of St Hilda’s provided an opportunity to improve facilities at one of the best performing schools in Liverpool. The original school was built to hold around 440 pupils and after various extensions was serving over 800. The building was cramped and dilapidated, its acoustic and thermal performance levels were poor and it was uneconomical to upgrade.

After extensive consultation with the client, school, stakeholders and local community, we designed a new 8000m2, four-storey main school building. The building was to be constructed adjacent to the existing school with a separate 765m2 sports block located on the existing school site.

The school is in a conservation area, surrounded by listed buildings and adjacent to Sefton Park, a Grade I listed park. These constraints required the design to be of a high standard to satisfy planning and English Heritage, which was very challenging given the constrained budget.

The Solution:

Maintaining a simple building shape avoided expensive structural requirements and ensured an efficient structural frame. This allowed more budget to be spent on higher quality finishes and materials, such as external brickwork.

Classrooms are straightforward in shape and arrangement, allowing full height glazed screens between rooms and a large four-storey atrium, naturally lit via rooflights. Classroom ceilings were omitted and concrete floors left exposed, saving costs and aiding natural ventilation.

A fully coordinated BIM Level 2 model was utilised, containing architectural, structural, building services and landscape designs and outline specifications. Development of the design and project phasing allowed disciplines, contractors and suppliers to share information. This minimised discrepancies and improved coordination, and provides a single resource for building operations and maintenance.

Our in-house cost management team also built the cost plan into the BIM model, allowing rapid quantification of the design as it developed and financial assessment of alternative proposals.

The Impact:

The main school building was officially opened by the Bishop of Liverpool, followed by the second phase, the sports hall and landscaping works. We retained and enhanced the parkland feel of the site and were able to keep tree removal to a minimum.

The stakeholders, including the school, planning department, English Heritage and local community were delighted with the completed scheme.

The project was winner of the Best Educational Building at the LABC Awards North West 2017.

" The new St. Hilda’s School will provide a tremendous boost for thousands of present and future generations of school children and ensure they get the most out of their learning. The team has ensured that this process has begun from the earliest stages. Kier has worked diligently in delivering this complex project on a very tight site, located very close to a live school and two blocks of residential flats. They have delivered on time and budget and have exceeded our expectations from the start to finish. "
Simon McEneny Assistant Director Physical Assets, Liverpool City Council

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