Work is fast reaching completion on a £2 million project to construct a new school for the children of Rudheath in Cheshire.
Set in the heart of Vale Royal on the outskirts of Northwich, the co-education school is maintained by the Cheshire Education Authority and caters for approximately 360 children between the ages of 4 and 11.
Headed by main contractor Kier Construction (Northern), the project has seen the phased demolition of the existing 1950s element and the construction of a state-of-the-art block that will house the non-teaching elements, including the dining hall and assembly hall. Additional facilities will include an IT suite, a learning resource centre, new kitchen facilities and associated ancillary facilities including administration offices and a staff room.
Enabling works began onsite in November 2011 and construction began in January 2012, with the project currently on track to hit the target completion date of September 2012.
Project Architect for Design Group Chester, Roger Latham, explained:
“Unfortunately, the existing buildings were substandard. The old building stock dated back to the late 1940s or early 1950s and interestingly was one of the first aluminium system builds. These builds were set up during the war to manufacture parts for the aviation, and following this they were adapted to form the first curtain wall system buildings. In its day, this was quite innovative – however, after many years the building began to lag behind in terms of thermal insulation and quality and it was looking rather tired.
“Although the initial proposal was to demolish the entire site, eventually the decision was reached to retain the 1980s element of the school and replace only the 1950s element. This removed the need for temporary accommodation and allowed the project to be phased, which in turn minimised the disruption created by the project. The construction phase is now complete, and the remaining demolition works are currently being undertaken, which will in turn allow the children to just move in when they come back in September.”
Constructed to achieve a BREEAM rating of Good, the building features an external facing clay brick exterior with internal cavity and blockwork partition walls, along with a metal deck roof with insulation and membrane. Further external works have included the planting of flowerbeds and the tidying of landscaped areas around the perimeter of the site.
Roger Latham added:
“It is always a challenge to have a construction site embedded within a school, and I think Kier Construction (Northern) have done very well in managing the circulation route, the traffic and the people coming and going on the site. The phased demolition has made a huge difference to what has been possible, helping to maintain the school in situ without too much disruption to the staff and children – which over the course of 9 months is very important.”