Midlands & East Anglia

New academy to be ‘spectacular’

Kettering Science LIBRARYA £26 million science academy for 1,100 students in Kettering is set to score high for its architectural design.

The Kettering Science Academy is being built by Willmott Dixon Construction for Northants County Council and The Brooke Weston Partnership, with plans for it to be handed over in June 2012, and full completion by February 2013.

The new academy building, set over 11,500sqm, will be built on three floors with a steel framed structure and traditional brick and block elevations incorporating large areas of glazing and a flat roof.

External landscaping will see a mix of sports pitches ranging from five-a-side and athletics track to rugby and cricket facilities, as well as a large car parking area.

Designed to a quality that is consistent with the Brooke Weston Partnership’s high standards, the design features a central courtyard acting as the main hub to link all areas.

This courtyard will include a sky terrace, seating area and large scale artwork and will allow outside eating and study during the warmer months.

The circular glass panelled design will ensure that light floods into all areas of the inner building and looking out onto this central courtyard will be the library and restaurant.

The academic subjects will be ordered into a faculty system, utlising five double height faculty areas. The faculties will have a central study area and be lined by two columns of classrooms. Each classroom will be designed with a glass fronted window, providing high visibility throughout.

The Science faculty will feature two ‘super labs’ – larger than average laboratories installed with the latest equipment.

Peter Simpson, Executive Principal of the three Academies within the Brooke Weston Partnership said: “I can assure everybody that our new academy building will be a spectacular addition to Kettering and that it will make a great contribution to raising standards and achievement.”

The existing academy building will be demolished and the site landscaped as part of at the latter end of the contract.

Chief architect at Nicholas Hare Architects, Ruth Saxton, who led the team that came up with the successful final design, said: “The academy partnership puts a large emphasis on transparency and visibility and so the faculty system has been designed to enable this.

“We have designed out opportunities for misbehaviour and bullying and using the glass also helps teaching staff to support each other.”

The new building will also feature an impressive 450 seat theatre which will sit at the front of the site near to the impressive tree lined entrance.

Students will access via the front entrance and use a smart card system to swipe through the central reception. This swipe system acts as an automatic register.

The building is also set to become one of the greenest ever built in the county. An onsite geothermal heating system will be linked to the building’s thermal mass; photovoltaic cells will convert solar energy into electricity; data screens will display to students and users the energy usage of the building.

These technologies will reduce the need to take energy from the national grid and help the academy to make huge energy savings compared to the running costs of other academies in the UK.

The energy produced by the photovoltaic cells will be enough to provide the power to light the restaurant. A new hall road has been made to ease congestion for site deliveries and site access.

Craig Reason, senior operational manager at Willmott Dixon Construction, said: “The project is being delivered on budget and on time. We have 60 people on site and all are focused on handing over the academy to the county council next June, with the students walking through the doors in September of that year.

“The new Kettering Science Academy building will be one of the lowest carbon buildings that has ever been built in Northamptonshire.”

His staff have also been engaging students in classes on the construction and the different careers open to them in the industry.

The Kettering Science Academy is being delivered as part of the Government’s Partnership for Schools (PFS) framework.

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