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Churchers College creates formula for success

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A project to create a new science building extension for Churchers College in Ramshill, Petersfield, Hampshire, is well underway.

The new extension will increase the provision of science teaching, creating four additional science laboratories between 75 and 90m² in size, along with the associated preparatory rooms, office space and toilet facilities.

Main contractors for the £2m project are Beard Construction and the architects are Lewis & Hickey Ltd. The structural engineers are the Andrews Newsby Partnership. The phased project began in April 2011 and is expected to be complete in November

Under the project, the current two-storey science block will be extended by adding a new floor of a similar footprint at roof level. The existing stairs will in turn be extended to meet it. The new 640m² floor will extend the existing building by approximately 1.2m.

David Robins, the bursar of the school, was part of the design team and now oversees the day-to-day construction. He said that the main challenge of the project was to find a structural solution that enabled a new additional floor to be built on top of the existing building, which was approaching limited existing structural capabilities.

The existing block is a steel framed structure that is stabilised via portal frames and bracing, with infill masonry panels and non-load bearing internal partitions. A girder structure is supported either side of the existing walls by steel columns; these columns sit on new piled foundations outside the existing block, which will limit the destructive work required within the existing science block.

The new extension will emerge from the existing roof tops, and measures have been taken to ensure that the extension is subservient in terms of form and visual impact in order to respond sympathetically to both the existing school and its surroundings – particularly with regards to the sites position in the South Downs National Park.

As a result, the use of overly reflective materials has been avoided, and colours have instead been chosen to relate to the existing pallet. This includes new bronze cladding to match the existing leaves and canopies.

Other interesting features of the project include the front north facade, which comprises continuous curtain wall glazing with a fritted finish, and the use of natural ventilation wherever possible.

HBE Services

The project involved producing working drawings, manufacturing and installation of steel staircases complete with stainless steel balustrades and glass infill’s for areas called “stairs 1 and 2”. The work also involved extending the central tower section over staircase 1 together with the removal and relocation of existing steelwork.

To produce working drawings we first had to complete a very detailed site survey. This was necessary due to the complexity of having to extend steel staircases / tower section from originally was there, up to newly installed steelwork.

It meant us having to work very closely with our client (Beards) and there engineers (Andrews Newby Partnership) and architects (Lewis & Hickey).

Due to stair 1 still being used by the school, installation had to be carried out on weekend using mobile cranes.

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