Planning permission has just been granted this week for a new free-standing community classroom block on the site of Hatfield Community Free School.
School staff appointed PCMS Design when realised they needed a building close to existing playing fields to serve as additional classroom space, and also to provide some shelter and changing areas for the adjacent pitches. Our feasibility process identified a suitable site, a concept design was approved, and we negotiated with the Planning Department at Welwyn Hatfield District Council to iron out a number of planning issues prior to permission being granted.
Care has been taken to design a building which reflects that of the existing school, which was constructed 5 years ago. The wish is to proceed with construction as quickly as possible, in order to provide much needed classroom space.
It can be surprising how quickly the installation of new classrooms can be turned around when the need arises. In the case of this Bedfordshire school, once planning permission had been secured, the instruction to proceed was given to a specialist modular contractor who took only a month from factory build to installation on site.
PCMS Design staff had visited the factory only a couple of weeks previously to see the seven modular bays being manufactured and fitted out, so it was satisfying to see them being lifted into position so quickly. Two classrooms each measuring 56m2 will be available, plus a 42m2 group room, WCs and storage. Quality standards have been maintained throughout the manufacturing process, and the resulting building will deliver excellent insulation properties and performance.
The modular option offers a cost-effective and quick solution for schools (or businesses) requiring additional space in a hurry.
We were delighted yesterday to hear about our nomination for two Central Region 2017 LABC Awards. LABC (Local Authority Building Control) organise the regional awards each year to recognise excellence within the construction industry.
Our nominations are in the categories of Best Public Service Building for Chinnor Community Pavilion, and Best Educational Building for a new 3-classroom block on the site of Biggleswade Academy.
This is the 6th year running that we have received a nomination, and follows our success last year in the ‘Best Partnership with a LA Building Control Team’ category when we won the Central Region Award.
Our team is looking forward to the Awards Ceremony on Friday 5th March in Milton Keynes, and keeping their fingers crossed for continued success!
We were delighted last week to hear that planning permission has been granted by Bedford Borough Council for a new two classroom modular unit to be located within the grounds of Shortstown Primary School. This School serves a community just to the south east of Bedford. A growth in pupil numbers has resulted in a shortfall of teaching space, and so the modular unit will be used to boost the number of classrooms available.
Our bespoke design created a simple form and layout for the unit, which has a footprint of just under 200m2. There are centrally located facilities, including a separate room for smaller teaching groups or meetings and WCs. The appearance will be enhanced with horizontal natural cedar cladding.
School staff are really pleased with the positive planning outcome, and are presently engaged in finding a contractor to construct and install the bespoke unit which will be ready for occupation this Spring.
Another successful educational project was handed over earlier this week, when a two-classroom modular unit was completed on time and within budget. The new classrooms are at Ivel Valley, a special school located in East Bedfordshire for children with moderate to severe physical impairment and special needs.
Once contracts had been signed, the whole build and installation took only 12 weeks. Opting for modular units not only helps with limited budgets, but also offers a quick turnaround for sites that need additional accommodation in a hurry. Modern modular units comply with all the latest construction regulations, and can even be disguised to look like a permanent building! This particular unit has attractive stained timber cladding. There is also flexibility inside; our bespoke design includes not only the classrooms but also a hygiene/changing room with shower, storage space and two individual group rooms. The classrooms each have an interactive ‘teaching wall’.
Ivel Valley’s Head and teaching staff are thrilled with the new two-classroom block, and are already putting it to good use.
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.
Aylesbury Vale District Council has this week granted planning permission for one of our Buckinghamshire educational clients. We applied on behalf of Oakley Primary School for consent to create a more presentable and secure main entrance for staff, pupils and visitors, improve the internal layout of the school office, and construct a new head teacher’s room.
Part of the scheme receiving consent at the same time includes external improvements to create a new footpath entrance for children and parents, and also to extend the staff car park.
PCMS Design hopes to move swiftly on to the technical specification, ahead of procuring suitable building firms on behalf of the school to carry out the construction works.
We have recently completed a building improvement project at Raynsford Academy in Henlow. Our changes incorporated a side extension to an existing classroom so that the Reception class could be relocated, leaving a large internal space available for the local village pre-school. Our design also included reconfiguration of the central area to create separate WCs for the Reception class and Pre-School, with a shared group room.
A large new external play canopy has been installed to wrap around the building serving the Reception class play area, and it also creates a covered entrance to the Pre-School. Formed from powder-coated steel posts and Perspex, play canopies such as these are becoming an essential feature of all primary schools so that the curriculum requirement to provide external play can still be followed in all weathers.
Our design scheme has delivered additional space for the school with only a modest extension, by creatively re-designing the internal spaces and ancillary facilities. As part of the works, the existing car park was extended to create six additional parking spaces.
In what has been – for PCMS Design at least – a busy month for planning applications, we have recently heard that Luton Borough Council has granted permission for a single storey extension to one of the administration areas at Denbigh High School.
The original building is constructed from red brick with distinctive arched windows. Our design for the extension, which is sited in a ‘Quad’ area at the rear of the building, had to take this context into account. There is also a modular unit temporarily sited in the ‘Quad’, so this will be removed prior to construction beginning.
The flat-roofed extension will deliver an additional 90m2 of floor space and provide a large open-plan office, two separate meeting rooms and a small deliveries room, together with some additional storage space. Construction works are scheduled to begin shortly.
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.