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John Roan School - image credit © Hufton+Crow

Transforming a two-site school

Jamie Barrett looks at how a historic London school was transformed to help address pressure on provision in Greenwich

Posted by Stephanie Broad | March 22, 2016 | Bricks & mortar

The Royal Borough of Greenwich has one of the fastest-growing school-age populations in the UK. This project was required to help address the increasing pressure on education provision in the area 

The John Roan School is a secondary school, which dates back to 1677. It occupies two sites adjacent to Greenwich Park – the lower school was located at Westcombe Park and the original school which was built in 1928 and is a neo-classical Grade II listed building, is at Maze Hill.

Credit © Hufton+Crow

State-of-the-art teaching facilities and flexible, transformational and inspiring learning environments were required to take the school into the next century and expand places to 1,400 pupils including 350 for sixth form students. 

Evolution5 was appointed to provide project management and cost management services to redevelop the John Roan School sites through a complex, two-year new build, refurbishment and extension programme. The spacious, well-lit buildings offer high quality facilities for both vocational and academic learning.

The listed building at Maze Hill was extensively and sensitively remodelled and extended to improve the classrooms and circulation areas, and to create new social, dining and learning spaces in one of the internal courtyards covered with an ETFE ‘floating pillow’ roof. A dedicated sixth form centre and ICT facilities have also been added. 

Credit © Hufton+Crow

The building at Westcombe Park was completely demolished and replaced with a new purpose-built, three-storey 7,845m2 school for years nine, 10 and 11. Decant sports accommodation was also provided during the build programme. The finished campus now accommodates general classrooms, design and technology laboratories, and an entrance atrium with stepped seating to create a performance space linked to the main curriculum and sports wings. There are multi-purpose and open-plan spaces for use as an open learning resource centre and break-out study areas; a winter garden, and drama and activities studios. A sports and amenity building doubles as a valuable community facility.

An unused school building at Royal Hill was refurbished to provide an interim decant facility for John Roan year 10 and 11 students. On completion of the new school at Westcombe Park, the Royal Hill scheme was upgraded and converted for occupation by James Wolfe Primary School.

Credit © Hufton+Crow

Andrew Carr, Contracts Manager, Royal Borough of Greenwich Council, said: “We were kept up-to-date at every stage and the project management of this highly complex school redevelopment was excellent. The approach to communication was really helpful and we could pinpoint the project’s progress precisely, at any point.” 

At the opening, Des Malone, Head Teacher of The John Roan School, said: “This is a landmark for The John Roan which opens our outstanding buildings fit for 21st century learning. We are all immensely proud of our very special school.” 

Jamie Barrett is Managing Director of construction consultancy Evolution5: 

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