The state-of-the-art Pakefield High School is set to change the way that education is delivered in Lowestoft once it opens in September 2012.
Following a school organisation review process, all of the middle schools in Lowestoft closed in 2011 and a new high school and sixth form college opened in September of the same year in order to complement the three existing high schools.
Works began onsite in January 2010 and Phase One has comprised the construction of a new £12 million building as the first part in the development of the new high school, whilst Phase Two will be built on the front of the first phase at the London Road end and Phase Three will include the demolition of the existing Pakefield Middle School. The project has been funded by Suffolk County Council and is being carried out by Barnes Construction.
Pakefield High School will boast a wide range of specialist accommodation including science laboratories, resistant materials and food technology rooms, art and music performance spaces and a main assembly hall. All of the classrooms are spacious (100 sq metres on average) and each room celebrates wireless capacity.
Designed by Colin Leisk of Pick Everard Architects, the two-storey building features a unique ‘street’ that runs through the centre of the development. The ‘street’ has a staircase that sweeps up to a bridge that crosses it in its central position, creating a very unique focal point. Interestingly, the roof has been constructed using the same materials as those used on the Eden Project in Cornwall and can regulate the temperature of the school.
Sustainable features include a biomass boiler that uses woodchip to heat the school, whilst the development is expected to achieve a BREEAM rating of ‘Very Good’.
An ecological survey conducted in the early stages of the project led to the conservation of a pond for grey crested newts. Furthermore, archaeologists working on the site discovered evidence of Roman and Neolithic settlement.
Head teacher Perry Linsley commented:
“The substantial investment that Suffolk County Council has made will ensure that the school’s legacy will live on for another 100 years. It really is a ‘Rolls Royce’ of a building, and will allow the children to be educated in a truly 21st century setting.
“As a nation, I believe that our children are our greatest asset and to put that money into a building that has all of the facilities and resources that they require to develop their full potential is just wonderful.”