London & South East

Building big

A £15 million project to transform Notting Hill and Ealing High School – titled The Big Build – reached completion last month.

The Big Build included the creation of a new 266-seated multi-function hall for assemblies, whole school gatherings, plays and events; a four-court sports hall, a dance studio and a 100-seat drama studio. The library, main entrance, reception and the site’s Portrait Room were also redesigned and some associated landscaping works took place.

Interserve Project Services Ltd was the main contractor on the project, whilst Ellis Williams Architects provided all architectural services. The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) provided £14 million of funding for The Big Build, with the remaining £1 million raised through the Notting Hill and Ealing High School community.

Notting Hill and Ealing High School is an independent day school catering for girls aged between 4 and 18. The school was founded in 1873 and for 140 years has built up a lasting reputation for academic excellence.

Work began on the project in July 2011 when Interserve Project Services took possession of the site, during the school summer holidays. During the early stages of the project existing services were diverted and the former hall and gym were demolished.

In September 2011 the site was cleared, with piling work taking place in November. During the piling stages, deep holes were dug into the ground and filled with steel and concrete to form the foundations of the new building. Foundations were then installed at the end of 2011.

To shield the work from public view, hoardings were erected, completely enclosing the site. The hoardings were decorated with murals designed by pupils.

During summer 2012 the library, main entrance, reception and the Portrait Room benefited from redesign and refurbishment works, creating light, bright and inviting spaces for the school. Meanwhile, main construction work continued in order to create the new facilities including a modern dance studio, the site’s new sports hall and theatre.

Theatre and stage supply specialists Lancelyn Theatre Supplies provided technical equipment and installed systems for all performance spaces, including stage lighting, stage and auditorium curtains, show communications, retractable seating, automated sound and video systems and control desk furniture, amongst others. Lancelyn also arranged the installation of a walk-on tension wire grid system in the drama studio to provide safe access and encourage hands-on technical theatre experience.

Lancelyn Theatre Supplies Projects Manager, Andy Orme, said:

“Our proposals department were involved with the school for 2 years developing the theatrical aspect of The Big Build project and we are delighted to be able to see this through to project completion.”

The new studio includes a sprung floor, mirrors, sound system and a custom-designed space for dance and choreography. Meanwhile, the new sports hall is a fantastic sporting space, was built to meet Sports England standards and was one of the key objectives of The Big Build project.

Although work on The Big Build has come to an end, some additional landscaping work will take place during the 2013 summer holidays. This aspect of the work will include the planting of trees and a general clean up of the site.

The Big Build was a very important project for Notting Hill and Ealing High School and will provide students with new opportunities in sport, drama and dance. Throughout the course of the project, Notting Hill and Ealing High School posted regular progress updates via the school’s website.

For more information about Notting Hill and Ealing High School, please visit:

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