New accommodation for East Norfolk Sixth Form College has been created in a phased development to provide high quality accommodation for their changing needs. The school, situated near the centre of Gorleston in Norfolk, was opened in 1982 and serves an area of some 500 miles. The practice first became involved with the college in 2002 when we were engaged to design a Communal Study Room for students within a quadrangle enclosed on all four sides by old school buildings. The College was entering a period of rapid growth and changing needs which led us into discussions on how best to maximise the site potential whilst retaining a consolidated integrity to the overall design of the College and its surroundings.
It was decided to phase the expansion over a number of years. Phase I established the design criteria for the further phases with the building of a two storey science block. This new building accommodates eleven laboratories together with preparatory rooms and four classrooms, all with supporting offices and staff rooms.
Phase II provides the college with a creative and cost effective solution for a further twelve classrooms and was built within a short programme to a tight budget. Both buildings are highly insulated and feature solar shading.
The notable feature of these projects is that they were designed around system building technologies which enable much of the structures to be built off site and then simply assembled on site. This importantly assists in the ongoing management of the site with minimum noise pollution and disruption to the continuing operation of the existing College.
In recent years we have successfully completed Phase III of the College’s ongoing programme of expansion and improvement to create further contemporary classrooms and canteen facilities with a seating capacity for 200 students and staff. The Poulson and Gentry Buildings containing further classroom and laboratory facilities were opened by HRH The Princess Royal.
The Poulson building, named after Laurie Poulson, Principal of the college from 1999 to 2012, is a “hybrid” combination of steel and timber frame with insitu permanent shuttered concrete floor at first floor. It features passive stack ventilation and uses a combination of air source heat pump and gas-fired boiler to heat the building. The new building accommodates 11 laboratories together with prepatory rooms and 4 classrooms, all with supporting offices and staff rooms.
The Gentry Building maintains the design features of an earlier science block which we designed and built in 2003. It is a classroom block dedicated to English teaching and was named after Anita Gentry, also a former Principal of the college from 1987 – 2010. The college say ‘An investment of almost £5m has gone into these building projects which we believe represents excellent value for money.’
These energy-efficient buildings demonstrate that good design can be achieved within the strict budgets that are required by educational establishments today.