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Demolition marks start of new library development at RGS

Tearing down the old swimming pool at Newcastle's Royal Grammar School heralds the start of the next phase in the development of the school's estate

Posted by Julian Owen | December 21, 2017 | Bricks & mortar

Newcastle upon Tyne Royal Grammar School's pool, originally built in 1930, will be replaced by a new library, art block, maths and science and assembly space over the three floors. 

Valued at around £7m and measuring some 2,600sqm, it is the third phase of redevelopment work to have taken place at RGS in recent years.  

The project also sees the return to RGS of the award-winning Howarth Litchfield as architect, interior designer and CDM co-ordinator. 

Going forward, Howarth Litchfield will work closely with the new headmaster, John Fern, and bursar, Mike Pitkethly, over the appointment of a contractor. Construction work is due on site at the beginning of July 2018 and completion anticipated in August 2019, in readiness for the new academic year. 

MGL Group, responsible for the demolition, worked over the summer to remove loose and recoverable items from the building, with the demolition of the building shell taking place in early October. 

Howarth Litchfield has enjoyed a 15-year relationship with RGS, and has been heavily involved in the roll out of its masterplan, two years ago handing over the new swimming pool with sports hall and associated facilities. 

"The new building is an expression of the breadth of education that we wish to provide and the kind of preparation for the future that our students need."

Commenting on the start of this next phase, Howarth Litchfield, director, Neil Turner, said: “We are delighted to be working with RGS again on this major redevelopment project and should like to take this opportunity to thank the planning and conservation teams at Newcastle City Council for their assistance to date in the demolition and planning sequence of the project. 

Great care has been taken to preserve some elements of the building because of their artistic or architectural value. For example, we will be relocating the stained glass from the lecture theatre which was on the school’s original site and will be moved into the library, while the stone frieze will be reinstated in the art exhibition space. 

We will be working through the autumn on the pre-construction phases to prepare tender documentation and complete the detailed designs in readiness to go to the market to appoint a contractor towards the end of February or early March next year.” 

John Fern said: “RGS has a proud tradition of providing the very best educational opportunities for our students to foster their love of learning and ambitions. These superb new facilities will continue and enhance that. The new building is also an expression of the breadth of education that we wish to provide and the kind of preparation for the future that our students need; it combines library and research resources with art, computing, maths and engineering and design technology facilities. The whole school community will benefit, not least the large sixth form, who aspire to some of the most selective universities in the country and world.”

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