Parents and children were invited along to attend the official opening of a brand new pre-school building, which has just completed on the site of Clophill St Mary’s Lower School in Bedfordshire. PCMS Design has been involved in this project since its inception, working together with the school governors and management team on the design, planning application process, specification, tendering and finally the contract administration of the build.
There is a large bright playroom with kitchenette, plus a small admin area with office and store room. As the pre-school is on the site of a former Victorian school building, the design reflects some of those features with brick elevations and a slate roof, and tall feature windows at the end of the play room.
The official opening ceremony was attended by the Bishop of Bedford the Rt Revd Richard Atkinson, and staff are now preparing for the first wave of pre-schoolers.
Headteacher Karen Bingley said: “We were so pleased today to officially open our new pre-school building, which is a superb addition to the school site. PCMS Design has looked after the whole project for us, and assisted particularly in the later stages with contract administration. We now have a beautiful and well-designed building for our pre-school children, and the whole community will benefit from it for years to come.”
Following months of preparation, our team was very pleased yesterday when Central Bedfordshire Council’s Development Management Committee granted planning permission for the construction of a four-court sports hall with associated changing rooms, and also six new classrooms over two storeys at Henlow Academy in Bedfordshire.
This is a notable achievement for the Academy, which is seeking additional space to accommodate a temporary increase in pupil numbers over the next 3-4 years. It means that Phase II of the Academy’s site development programme can now go ahead. Phase I, which included a new link corridor and refurbishment works to several classrooms, was carried out this summer.
In addition to the sports hall, which will allow the Academy to substantially expand the range of sports on offer to pupils and the wider community, there will be improvements to the on-site car park, school bus bays and nearby public highway.
We are now looking forward to working with the Academy on the project management of the next stages, with a view to the classrooms being in operation for the 2018 academic year.
Last week, we were pleased to be present at the final handover of a residential rear extension to a detached home in Buckinghamshire.
The original brief was to design a space large enough for a full-sized snooker table. We developed a design for a one and a half storey room with glazed doors, applied on behalf of the homeowner for planning permission, assisted with procurement of suitable builders, and then carried out project management of the build.
What we were not expecting upon our final visit was the bold interior design scheme which had been carefully chosen by the homeowner for his new games room. The green snooker table is contrasted by bright red walls, and a very fetching bar, the front of which is apparently clad in the owner’s family tartan! The room has a bright, fun feel – great to entertain and relax in.
This year has seen the completion of a number of site development projects at Denbigh High School in Luton, four of which we have been involved with. The latest to reach completion is the construction of an extension at the rear of the main school building to provide a larger area for the Chiltern Learning Trust administration team.
There were a number of technical challenges to overcome in order to extend out from the existing two-storey building, which dates from the 1930s and has distinctive windows, some of them arched. We therefore designed a flat-roof extension including windows with glazing bars which harmonise with those around it. We obtained planning permission and building control approval for the new block and project managed the build.
Inside, there is a new open-plan office for staff, together with three separate office and meeting rooms, new toilets and a delivery room, all of which meet the aspirations of the Trust’s expanding administration team. This is part of a longer-term aim to establish a central hub for the Trust in order to rationalise support services.
Denbigh High School is well known throughout Luton; originally constructed in the 1930s, it has an impressive façade making it a local landmark.
The main entrance, however, was in need of modernising. We produced a design for the internal spaces that included installation of a new reception counter, refurbishment and extension of the main office, introduction of a new door opening for the head teacher’s PA and the creation of a dramatic modern entrance hall with tall glazed double doors and archway above.
The original entrance had distinctive dark timber antique panelling throughout. During the project, the contractor’s carpenters painstakingly removed, adapted and reinstalled the panelling in the refurbished corridor
The result is an impressive entrance hall in which to greet visitors, and improved office work spaces for staff. Staff at Denbigh, which is consistently rated ‘Outstanding’ by OFSTED, are delighted with the alterations.
Our project to deliver a new 3-classroom block at Biggleswade Academy in Bedfordshire has completed on time and within budget, opening last week for the start of the new school year.
Everyone involved has received praise for the transformation of this part of the school site, which formally housed a disused outdoor swimming pool and a modular unit. We have seen this project through from inception to completion; our involvement began at feasibility stage, when we produced concept designs for a free-standing building, and progressed through planning, tendering of a construction firm and contract administration. The principal contractor was Neville Special Projects of Luton.
The new building features a zinc-covered barrel shaped roof and off-white rendered walls. The interiors are bright and colourful, with acoustic wall and ceiling panels adding visual interest whilst helping to absorb excess noise. There are specialist facilities for the children too, including a changing/shower room with floor hoist. Each classroom has been provided with its own separate entrance, and outside there are play areas with Perspex canopies and a pencil fence in primary colours.
Deputy Principal Shelley Flynn said: “Our project had tight timescales in order to be ready for pupils and their teachers this September. PCMS Design were invaluable in managing the project process which, along with their superb design skills, has delivered a great building. The Academy now has a modern, well-designed classroom block that everyone is proud of.”
Sections of the modular classroom are lifted into place
Denbigh High School in Luton has commissioned a number of different construction and improvement projects to take place, and builders are making the most of the six week summer holiday to make good progress. The School has an impressive main building which dates from the 1930s, but consequently it does need an ongoing programme of maintenance and development.
PCMS is currently managing four separate schemes: a refurbishment of the main entrance, an extension to the administration block, a new two-classroom modular unit and finally an extension to the front car park. Regular site visits are made to check on progress and answer any technical questions that the builders may have encountered.
Works are scheduled to be completed by the start of the new term in September, although the admin block project will take longer to finish due to its scale and complexity. We are looking forward to seeing the finished projects put to good use shortly.
Installation of the block and beam floor for the Administration block extension
As the extension and improvement project at Chinnor Rugby Football Club that we designed and are managing reaches the half way point, we visited site to see the concrete stairs being installed with the assistance of a mobile crane. Part of the existing roof had to be removed to allow the stairs to be lifted in. This will be replaced shortly, and the extended areas will have aluminium roof sheeting fitted.
Building works have also progressed well on the interior of the building, with both electricians and plumbers busy on the heating pipework, refurbished WCs and the new, larger kitchen.
And whilst all the building work has been going on, the Club has still managed to operate as usual with adult pre-season team training sessions, touch rugby and even the hosting some functions for sponsors and members.
The extension and improvements are due to be completed by September.
Good news was received yesterday by Biggleswade Academy. The state–funded school for children aged 2-13 years has just received planning permission from Central Bedfordshire Council to build three new classrooms.
PCMS Design was involved from the initial stages of the project, liaising with all stakeholders to arrive at a design everyone was happy with. We then prepared and submitted a planning application for approval.
There is a need for additional accommodation for pupils with effect from September this year, and so the plan is to have the new classroom block ready to move into by then.
The aspiration was to place the new classrooms close to the existing school buildings. We found a suitable location, but a modular unit currently sits on the site, so this will be removed, and an outdoor swimming pool will also be filled in to provide more space.
Construction works are due to begin in the next few months and will continue throughout the spring and summer. PCMS Design will be preparing the tender pack and then acting as Principal Designer and Project Manager throughout the build.
PCMS Design is currently project managing the construction of a new free-standing pre-school building in the grounds of St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Caddington, just outside Dunstable. Works are progressing smoothly and the whole project is on target for completion later this term, which means that the new pre-school will be ready to open for business in January.
The contractors have worked well, completing each stage in accordance with the project plan. A striking architectural detail is the zinc standing seam roof (see photo) which provides a hard-wearing and cost-effective alternative to concrete or slate tiles.
Upon completion, there will be a large multi-purpose playroom and associated facilities, together with external play space to fulfil the government’s curriculum objective of children being offered outside play every day.
“Our design team have experience of designing Early Years facilities and we have worked with the local authority, the school and the Diocese of Northampton to deliver this project,” commented Alex Bond, Project Manager.