London & South East

Multimillion pound school refurbishment nears completion

Beginning in 2011, refurbishment works on Garden Primary School in Mitcham, London are now approaching their final stages.

The £3million development has seen the overhaul of current school facilities, creating new improved classroom space and external play areas.

R Durtell and Sons ltd were selected as the main contractors on the development and Site Manager, Graham Onetta said:

“The refurbishment is on track to be complete within the next few months; so far we have had great feedback from teachers. The previous facilities were old and tired and did need upgrading and I think the refurbishment is great for the school going forward.”

Garden Primary School is located on a split site and includes a Children’s Centre that is located in the watercress building and day care and wraparound care facility that is provided from a life expired modular building (red hut). The school also makes use of another standalone extension (cream hut) to provide other services such as the after school and breakfast clubs and training. The main school and office are located in the Lavender building.

Funds for the development were approved in the Council’s Capital Programme in 2011 to enable the school to operate more effectively as a 2FE school with a Children’s Centre.

As well as internal modernisation, a priority for the school was to develop the external play space across the whole site. In order to fund the external works, a further £150,000 was allocated to the budget from the school’s devolved capital formula and from Early Years Grant.

The original scheme developed in 2010 for the works was based in PCP and DFE Children’s centre funding. It developed a scheme to provide an integrated Early Years / Children’s Centre area in one building (Watercress) and the remainder of the school via an extension in the current main school building (Lavender). The existing nursery accommodation was to be adapted into a specialist ARP base.

However, due to an uncertainty in Children’s Centre funding, the scheme had to be placed on hold. Following the Government’s Public Spending Review in October 2010, the Department for Education Children’s Centre grant allocations were significantly reduced and this had implications for the proposed scheme.

Due to a shortfall in funding, the scheme had to be re-designed to rationalise the accommodation in the two buildings to allow the school to operate in a more integrated way whilst maintaining a secure Children’s Centre and a new ARP base as part of the main school.

Now near completion the project has been conducted in two phases. Phase One has comprised the refurbishment of the Watercress building and Phase Two, the refurbishment of the Lavender building, a new ARP base and the demolition of the Red Hut building. The buildings have not been renovated for a number of years and as such many of the mechanical, electrical and building safety systems were not up to current standards. These have been brought up to modern standards, along with the building fabric and decoration, creating a more pleasant and up to date teaching and learning environment.

In order for the project to be completed on time, works to both buildings have taken place whilst the school was in session. Officers, the design team and the contractor continue to work closely with the school to ensure that any disruption is kept to a minimum.

Main contractors R Durtell and Sons ltd specialise in the education sector, the company have a long and successful history of working with education establishments, providing new and upgraded facilities for schools, colleges, universities and other training organisations.

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