The King's School, Ottery St Mary

The King's School, Ottery St Mary

Type of works: supply of two-storey building for sixth form centre.

To expand their school facilities quickly and cost-effectively local education authorities are turning increasingly to factory built, modular construction. Not only are great savings achieved in construction costs and site development times, but the steel framed buildings look just as pleasing and are as equally robust as those that are built using traditional building techniques.

The King’s School in Ottery St Mary is just such a case. Its new two-storey building, designed and built by Neath Abbey based Wernick Buildings was delivered over four days, which is extremely fast for a 723m2, 15 room building.

The decision to construct the school’s latest building using this modern method of construction was influenced by several key factors.
Firstly - less disruption on site. The school’s authorities did not want lorries passing through the front gates of the school at any time. Modular construction minimises health and safety risks because much of the construction is done at the factory, yet the 28 modules that comprise the new building were delivered while the school was open. This was achieved by craning the modules into position, from their delivery lorries drawn up in the school’s coach park on the other side of the school from the main gates. Secondly – cost. A modular building is generally highly competitive in price when compared to the cost of conventional construction methods, though this building looks as though it has been built using traditional methods.

Internal and external finishing work took 20 weeks to complete from the date of delivery to site. The work included a pitched tiled roof with a vented Dutch gable at each end, and a brick and rendered exterior wall. The new building is positioned on the site of an old swimming pool, which required some thorough site preparation work before the new building’s ground works could be completed.

The building’s sprinkler system pump house and reservoir required special attention because there was no available space near the building, so they had to be built 120m from the school. Sprinkler outlets were required in the loft space as well as all the classrooms, where concealed heads were used to prevent the system being deliberately triggered. The loft sprinklers required insulation, an electricity supply and walkways. The pump house is diesel powered.

The King’s School’s history can be traced back to the 14th century, but its attitude to education is certainly up to the minute, with an ‘achievement for all’ policy that encompasses a belief that all their students have a unique skill and potential the school has the creativity and ability to unlock. It’s hardly surprising that with their long history and purposeful attitude to education the school is heavily over-subscribed. It consistently achieves a high examination success rate and also has the kudos of being designated a specialist sports college and training school. Their new building, specifically designed to blend in with the older buildings that surround it, houses the expanding geography department and the 6th form centre and IT room.

The 6th formers are not surprisingly very proud of their purpose designed facilities and the expansion of the geography department’s accommodation will allow for a general increase in student places throughout the school.

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