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The new campus under construction

Allestree Woodlands School opens new campus

The new campus is one of seven new schools to have been constructed across Derby

Posted by Stephanie Broad | October 16, 2016 | Events

A new school campus designed by maber architects and built by Bowmer & Kirkland was opened by HRH The Duchess of Gloucester on 13th October 2016.

As part of Allestree Woodlands School's 60th Anniversary celebrations, HRH The Duchess of Gloucester opened its new school buildings in the centre of this modern ‘green’ campus.

The phased construction programme saw the refurbished gym and new south building completed at the end of last year with the three-storey north building and Learning Resource Centre completed last month. The demolition of the original school buildings and landscaping works is soon to be completed.

Maber and Bowmer & Kirkland were awarded the contract as part of the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) Derby Batch, which saw the construction of seven schools in total across the city. Maber also developed Reigate Park Primary School in Mackworth and Asterdale Primary School in Spondon with Bowmer & Kirkland.

The Allestree Woodlands project provides a professional learning environment for 11 to 18-year-olds, designed to feel less like a school and more like a modern work-place, preparing students for university and future employment.

From an early concept stage, Head Teacher Alan Brady was keen to retain the ‘green campus’ feel which had naturally grown on the site over time. This was to be one of the biggest design challenges for maber on an existing site with retained buildings needing to link into the new building forms, while also keeping the current buildings in use.

The new buildings are arranged around a landscaped central courtyard with striking artificial grass surfacing for all year round use by the pupils creating a new ‘heart space’ in the position of the original 1960s school.

Linking into the retained and refurbished main hall and gym block of the school, the Learning Resource Centre offers a modern centre for self-directed learning where students can use modern facilities to research and undertake group work.

The professional brand the school has developed since becoming an Academy in 2012 has been integrated into the design of the elevations reflecting the strong greens in the school badge, inspired by its landscape of large grassed sports pitches and mature trees. This brand continues internally with each faculty having its own identity using block colours and graphics in the corridors and their multi-storey lightwells.

Maber’s Associate Architect, Lee Smith, said: “Collaboration has been key to the success of the construction of the new campus in a large live school site which posed its own unique challenges. All parties have worked together to deliver this successful collection of buildings as a modern school campus to replace the outdated buildings.

“The school has been a fantastic project which we know has inspired students to consider the construction industry as a career. Several of them have joined us for work experience over the course of the project, and one has gone on to start her course to read Architecture at Edinburgh University.”

Bowmer & Kirkland Regional Director, Steve Chambers, said: “Our Education Funding Agency projects are very important to us and we are delighted that this one has been such a success.

“Working in a live environment, only a few feet away from students and teaching staff has been a challenge but this has also been a very rewarding project. The new buildings and facilities have been greeted by all at the school with such excitement and we are proud to have been part of the future of Allestree Woodlands,” he said.

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