Midlands & East Anglia

Updating education at the Kettering academies

Two of Kettering’s academies are being transformed in a £55 million project that will revolutionise the provision of education in Northamptonshire.

The project will see the replacement of the Kettering Science Academy on Windmill Avenue and the Kettering Buccleuch Academy on Weekley Glebe Road. Main contractor for the project is Willmott Dixon Construction and the architect is Nicholas Hare Architects.

Works for the new Kettering Science Academy began in October 2010 and are scheduled for completion in September 2012. Following this, the existing buildings will be demolished and the external works will commence. The expected final completion date is March 2013.

Chris Borderick, Northamptonshire County Council, said:

“The new building will replace the ISE Community College, which is a typical ‘60s build that was designed for 600 pupils.

“Over the years the school was extended several times with no particular thought to an overall master plan. Not only was the school insufficiently equipped to cope with the pupil numbers and modern day curriculum, but it had been built with a 30-year lifespan and therefore had already reached the end of its economic life.

“A further concern was the amount of asbestos discovered on the site, which will subsequently require some very careful soft strip demolition in order to remove it. It has been estimated that this operation will reach a six-figure sum.”

The new Kettering Science Academy has been designed to cater for 1350 students, including 1100 11-16 year-olds and 250 sixth-form students.

Featuring a classic design with brick and curtain walling, the predominantly two-storey building has also incorporated a small third storey which contains a boardroom and other accommodation.

Sustainable features include ground source heat pumps. When operational, the building will save approximately £200,000 per annum compared to traditionally heated buildings.

One of the most important aspects of the design is the concept of visibility, which can be noted in the large circular courtyard. In addition, one wall of every classroom is entirely glazed, which will help to implement passive supervision and behavioural management.

Chris Borderick said:

“The project is progressing very well, as it is both on time and on budget – which is exactly what you want for a well-delivered construction project. I am confident that we will deliver a very high-quality building that will allow teaching and learning to advance significantly.”

Unlike the Kettering Science Academy, the Kettering Buccleauch Academy has also incorporated a primary phase. In total, the school will provide for 420 primary school children, 1100 11-16 year-olds and 250 sixth-form students.

The £24.5 million development includes a three-storey school building and the existing high-quality sports hall.

Chris Borderick explained:

“We are actually building on land that was a former football pitch owned by Kettering Borough Council, which we have subsequently taken a very long lease for in order to develop the land. In return we will be providing a floodlit all-weather pitch and a replacement changing pavilion which can be used for public use.”

Speaking about both of the projects, he added:

“We are extremely pleased with the general attitude of Willmott Dixon towards moving the project forward and their genuine partnership approach. All issues have been dealt with on a team basis, which has encouraged a fast and easy resolution.”


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