The multi-million-pound redevelopment of one of the largest independent schools in the UK has completed, delivering state-of-the-art facilities for students in Macclesfield.
The King’s School employs 250 people and provides education for more than 1,200 students from pre-school through to sixth form. This £60m redevelopment scheme unites two previous sites across the town into one central area, with the new campus sitting adjacent to the school’s existing sports pitches at Derby Fields.
21,000m2 of new academic building has been built, creating 350 rooms, along with a separate sports centre and 75-acres of sporting and outdoor facilities.
The new sports centre houses a 25m, six-lane swimming pool, a six-court sports hall, an indoor cricket centre, a dance and martial arts studio, a fitness suite and a café. Outside, students will have use of five new rugby football pitches, a rounders field and two floodlit AstroTurf hockey pitches, and netball courts.
National independent property, construction and infrastructure consultancy Pick Everard has provided full design and engineering services for the project. Duncan Green, managing partner, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have completed this large-scale scheme for The King’s School, creating a high-quality central site for its students to thrive in – especially important as pupils return to the classroom after months of online learning.”
Natalie Clemson, director and project lead, said: “We worked very closely with VINCI Construction UK, the main contractor for the scheme, from the pre-contract stage. This meant we were able to fully integrate the team into the design process early on, creating a synergy and ensuring that detailed knowledge of the scheme and design intent was retained from start to finish – something extremely important to the headmaster and governors.
“Completing a significant project like this during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge, but it was here that our close relationship with VINCI Construction UK benefitted everyone. Like many construction projects across the UK, we felt the impact and we had to change our working methodology completely. We introduced virtual site visits during the fit-out stages to suit social distancing and safety measures and held our site project meetings remotely. Despite the challenges, this had minimal impact on the scheme itself, which is a testament to the working relationships developed throughout the project and the professionalism of all involved.”
It was important to the school that the new facilities provided a reduction in its carbon footprint, while also improving budgets through energy efficiency, so that money saved on fuel bills can be reinvested back into the curriculum for the benefit of the students.
The new, sustainable facility has been rated as BREEAM ‘very good’, and incorporates eco-features including sustainable drainage systems (SuDS), bat and swift boxes, beehives and outdoor classrooms to further connect pupils to their natural surroundings.
Simon Hyde, who was Headmaster during the design and construction phase, said: “This has been without a doubt the most ambitious project for the school in its 518-year history, and we could not be happier with the finished product.
“A connection to nature has been very important to us at the school, and we are incredibly lucky to be set in our rural, woodland location. The new campus will allow us to expand what we offer, for example the new floodlit netball courts will allow us to host netball tournaments, something we simply could not do before. We also have Cheshire’s only indoor cricket centre.”
Dedicated art, music, science and computing rooms for both the infant and junior divisions have been built, as well as a dedicated hall, lecture theatre and library. In the senior division, teaching and learning areas have been organised by faculty, with the science department also benefitting from 15 high-tech laboratories, prep rooms and office space.
Martin Horton, project manager at VINCI Construction UK, the main contractor, added: “The new school site sits perfectly in the landscape, and along with its spacious and naturally-lit spaces is a very impressive facility. We were very pleased to work in close conjunction with Pick Everard to deliver the new school, while ensuring the safety of all those on site.”
Preliminary works started in August 2018, with the aim of the school being ready for the start of the 2020/21 academic year. The school has now welcomed back its pupils in line with the latest government guidance regarding COVID-19. The large indoor and outdoor areas including extremely spacious corridors, are helping the school to operate in a Covid-safe way.
The project has been funded by the school selling its previous two sites in Fence Avenue and Cumberland Street to housing developers, areas which will provide sustainable and affordable homes, along with retirement and assisted living options.
Pick Everard employs more than 500 staff across its 13 offices, providing a range of project, cost and design consultancy services.