SGP celebrates handover of £4.8 million SEN school
Stephen George + Partners LLP (SGP) is celebrating the handover of Knighton Fields Centre by contractor MCS Fast Track Ltd to Ellesmere College, a leading provider of education for children with special educational needs (SEN).
The satellite campus, in a refurbished community college in Leicester, will provide education for 60 pupils aged 5 to 19 with communication and interaction difficulties, including complex autism.
Ellesmere College Executive Principal Steph Beale said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the new premises, which have been carefully planned and designed to meet the needs of our students.
“Our students were being introduced to the new site, as we make the gradual transition, with all 60 young people being in their new school, full-time, following the Easter break – we were all looking forward to that very much.”
SGP was appointed as RIBA Stage 5 architect, delivering the extensive internal remodelling and refurbishment to transform the former performing arts facility and domestic science college into a modern teaching facility incorporating specialist elements to support SEN pupils.
In addition to ancillary facilities such as staff room, offices and toilets, main hall, and reception with parent room, the building has been reconfigured to include classrooms, with specialist catering rooms. The layout includes sensory rooms and an independent living room – set out like a studio apartment with kitchenette, so students can get a feel of living independently. Externally, a play area with soft surfacing has also been added.
Explains Hing Ow, Associate at SGP: “Once we got on site and began working closely with the Contractor and the End User, previously under-designed issues were uncovered. For example, in the classrooms, which had been drama studios, we had to lower the ceilings and install acoustic ceiling and wall panels to meet Building Bulletin 93 acoustic requirements to make the classrooms fit for practical use.”
A new platform lift was installed, as well as general repairs, including floor treatments and new windows to the rear and the refurbishment of existing metal and windows on the front elevations. The heating and water systems were recommissioned and new alarm systems fitted, plus fit out works to suit school use and redecoration.
Concludes Ian Yallop, Chairman at SGP: “Dealing with the impact of the pandemic stretched everyone involved but we are all proud of the final building, which delivers practical, flexible spaces suitable for needs of the very special children and teachers who will be using it.”
The Knighton Fields campus is part of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Phase 2 expansion works planned by Leicester City Council.