Leighton Middle School Expansion
The expansion of an oversubscribed middle school in Leighton Linslade will see the school able to accommodate up to 600 pupils.
The plans include new classrooms to be grouped in a new block. This will give an identity to Year 5 students with the new Year 5 block located on the eastern tennis court.
A new classroom and technology block will also be developed on the western tennis court with the refurbishment of the existing dining block to include an enlarged dining hall.
The expansion scheme is part of Central Bedfordshire Council’s ongoing five year commitment to provide 6,500 new school places across the region by 2017. The scheme was agreed by the council following a public consultation in which 92% of respondents were in favour of expanding the school.
The expansion of Leighton Middle School is located in a Conservation Area and includes three listed buildings; the Assembly Hall (Grade II), the Library (Grade II*) and the Main Building (Grade II). The conservation of the site and the impact of the proposal was therefore a major priority and meetings were held with the Conservation Officer to ensure that a sensitive solution to the development was reached.
The site also has many mature trees, creating an attractive parkland environment. It was therefore fundamental for the development to integrate with the existing site trees. An Arboricultural Consultant was appointed to assist with the tree protection.
The site is positioned on the fringes of a flood zone area so a flood risk assessment was carried out to ascertain any likely compensatory measures that may be required. Archaeological studies were also carried out on the site in accordance with the Archaeology Officer’s requirements. The Archaeology officer is involved with the project and is being consulted throughout the process.
Speaking at a Topping Out ceremony in February, which celebrated building work on the new classroom block reaching its highest stage, Anne Thompson, Head teacher at Leighton Middle School said: “It is great to see the building emerging into its environment; we are looking forward to the new opportunities that it will offer our pupils.”
Councillor Steven Dixon, Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive member for Education and Skills commented: “Due to the compact nature of the school site, this has been a much more challenging expansion scheme that some of the others which the council has been involved in.
“I have been impressed with the focus and support throughout this project by council officers, Kier and particularly Anne Thompson, school staff and governors. I look forward to returning in the coming months to see the final building.”
The project is set to be officially opened in autumn 2017.