South West

New facilities at Commonweal


Commonweal School, Swindon, Wiltshire

A project to install a new Sixth Form centre and sports hall at Commonweal School, in Swindon, Wiltshire continues to make great progress.

The project comprises the construction of a new building to provide education facilities for more than 300 students in the local area. The building is being constructed on an unused piece of school land to sit alongside the existing school as a modern addition to the grounds, which is connected, yet self-sufficient at the same time.

The building is divided up into three floors and has been designed so that each floor can be used for different operations. The ground floor is a quiet, contemplative zone with classrooms and office space; the first floor is a more flexible study area with moveable seating, laptops and a 300-seat auditorium; and the second floor includes a café and terrace.

Work began on the project in October 2013 and is currently on programme to meet its completion date of July 14th 2014. Once work is complete on the new facilities, the building will officially open to students in the new September term.

McAvoy Group is the main contractor on the project, whilst Blue Sky Architects is providing all architectural services on the scheme. McAvoy Group is a leading contractor, specialising in the construction of smart building solutions which meet the requirements of their clients.

The project utilises two different construction methods: conventional steel, which is used for the creation of the auditorium; and modular construction which is being employed for the remainder of the building. Approximately two-thirds of the building has been constructed in Northern Ireland at McAvoy Group’s factory before being transported to Swindon.

Speaking to Premier Construction about the project for Commonweal School, Assistant Head to McAvoy & Head of Sixth Form, James Matcham, said:

“Before the creation of this new building, post-16 education in Swindon was being provided by the town’s two main colleges, following the closure of additional sixth form facilities in 1983. As a result, the number of students going into further education has been significantly below the national average, which is in no way a reflection of the young people that we have here in Swindon.

“Commonweal School wanted to address this issue, to ensure that we could provide the best possible levels of education that we could for our students. We submitted a bid with the Education Funding Association (EFA) for the creation of this new building and once successful, we set to work on making it a reality.”

James added:

“Once complete, this new facility will provide students with an academic, aspirational curriculum, which will benefit from excellent levels of support and guidance to ensure a broad programme of education. This will make studying at Commonweal Sixth Form very special.

“For me to be involved with this project is also fantastic and being able to be a part of something new for the school and the local area has been great. As a teacher it was a rare opportunity and something which I didn’t want to miss. I previously worked in civil engineering, working on the Jubilee Line extensions, so this has been a great return to that world too.”

For more information about Commonweal School, please visit:


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