The McAvoy Group has been awarded an £8.2m contract for the design and offsite construction of a new 630-place primary school for Concordia Academy in Romford.
The start on site has been marked with a ground breaking ceremony and children planting a time capsule.
The 2,972m2 three-form entry free school will create an exemplar learning environment for local children, reflecting the academy’s vision and ethos, increasing parental choice, and providing a valuable facility for the community.
Funded by the Department for Education via the Education and Skills Funding Agency, the school will be operated by REAch2 Academy Trust – the largest primary only academy trust in the UK.
The use of a McAvoy offsite solution for the project is allowing the development of a highly constrained brownfield site. The new building will be just 1.5m from the site boundary to the front elevation. Modular construction will significantly reduce disruption to the surrounding residential area and will cut the build programme to just 12 months.
The first of 67 modules will arrive on site in the autumn. McAvoy has also provided a suite of interim school buildings for the academy, until its new building opens in September 2018.
Raymond Millar, Construction Director of principal contractor McAvoy, said:
“We are delighted to be building this wonderful new school which will provide much needed primary school places for the local community in Romford. We will be using the latest advances in education design and offsite construction to create an inspiring environment for teaching and learning, and an outstanding school to help every child realise their highest aspirations.”
“Offsite construction offers clear benefits for the delivery of new education facilities. On this project, the solution from McAvoy is enabling the development of a very restricted and challenging brownfield site, and with much less disruption to the local community. It offers the opportunity for increased value for money, greater quality control and programme benefits because the construction work can progress offsite in the factory while groundworks are put in place on site. Speed of construction is key when the demand for school places continues to rise.”
Due for completion for the start of the 2018/19 academic year, the new state-of-the-art school will help to address the urgent need for additional primary places in the South East. The London Borough of Havering has seen a significant increase in birth rates and this is projected to continue. The local population is set to rise by 11.2 per cent by 2021, further intensifying the pressure on school places.
Designed by Blue Sky Architects, the Concordia scheme will occupy the site of a disused nurses’ home. The curriculum areas will be organised in clusters of three for each year group, and with a linear band of classrooms either side of a central corridor. The teaching spaces are designed to be flexible, allowing adaptation to support future modes of curriculum delivery or advances in technology.
Facilities will include a music and drama studio, main hall with adjacent smaller hall, 14 classrooms, full catering kitchen, activity room, small group learning rooms, staff room and administration offices.
The design solution maximises the external play space within the site and the landscaping will create an inspirational external environment to reflect and support the school’s educational needs. There will be a hard surfaced games area for high-energy play; an informal outdoor learning area with tensile fabric canopy to provide a shaded area; a garden space with raised planting beds; a dedicated, secure reception play area along the southern elevation, and a natural habitat ecology zone.
The contemporary design for the new school combines strong lines, bold geometric shapes and a palette of materials that includes red brick, timber-effect cladding, render and high levels of glazing. Elements of colour provide bright accents to reflect the school’s corporate identity and emphasise the architectural features. There are brick and rendered bays to the curriculum wing, with full height glazing to the recessed areas which allow light into the break-out and circulation spaces.