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Expansion work costing £13.5m at a major secondary school and sixth form will create more than 500 new school places once it’s finished. At Carlton Le Willows Academy on Wood Lane, the steel frame of the assembly hall which is part of the school’s expansion has been built.
Once finished, the development will have an assembly hall at one end and a dining room at the other, with a 20 classroom teaching block with a new main reception and office suite. The reception will move from Wood Lane to Burton Road, with a new car park for just under 100 cars too.
The number of pupils at Carlton Le Willows is currently just under 2,000. For the past five years, the school has taken on 300 pupils each year, with 240 in the years before that.
Work is expected to be finished by the end of Spring 2023, and from the start of the 2023/24 academic year, there will be an intake of 360 each year, which will eventually build the capacity to 2,520. For the start of the next academic year, a total of 330 will be taken on, with temporary classrooms being used.
Michael Davies, operations and finance director of the Greater Nottingham Education Trust which runs Carlton Le Willows Academy, said: “The existing dining room and main assembly hall in the original school were not fit for purpose in terms of size, so we needed this project to expand those spaces. The dining hall will sit 600, and the larger assembly hall and performance space will have retractable seating.
“We’ve been discussing this project for six years, and we’ve had involvement with Nottinghamshire County Council since 2019 to create more spaces for pupils. The new entrance is important for the school, it’s been a long ambition to have an entrance off there which is an improvement for the school from an access and school safety perspective.
“It feels really exciting, we started work in March where you don’t really see much happening with things being prepared. But it’s been great in the past two weeks to see work start to take shape, and we’ll see the shells of the buildings up by the end of summer.”
Two-man family firm Welham Architects have designed the buildings and interiors. It’s the largest project the company has undertaken, and the two architects have enjoyed working on it, describing it as a “red letter project” for them.
Clive Welham said: “It’s a real step forward for the academy, and we were first approached to work on this in September 2019. The building has been designed from the inside out, and the key building blocks have been the classrooms.
“Each of those have to be planned in great detail, and that’s been detailed with the academy. From our point of view, a key aspect is fire safety to make sure everyone can be evacuated quickly.
“Covid slowed some parts of the process down, and it’s a site within green belt land, making it quite a sensitive development. World events have not conspired to help the construction industry recently, but good progress is being made and we will have an immense feeling of pride when it’s done, it’s rare to have the chance to design buildings of this scale.”
Eddie Welham, son of Clive, said: “The main focus has been to create a space that pupils can engage and learn in. It’s as much about them as it is for staff and for members that come in and use the community as well, so there are a lot of different stakeholders that needed to be taken into account.
“Very early on, we found out from as many people as we can what was needed, and from then we extracted the information we needed, drawing up a first draft of designs. Then ideas are added in, and additional drafts are drawn up before agreeing on a final one, and it’s been fantastic to work on, we love working on community projects.”
Clegg Construction was awarded the contract late in 2021 to build the development. They were selected following a thorough process from Welham Architects.
David Richmond, project manager from Clegg Construction, said: “We’re still in the ground at the moment. We’ve split it into three areas of the assembly hall, of which the frame is up, the middle teaching block and the end dining hall.
“The dining hall is being poured at the end of this week so it’s ready, and the frame will then be up for that. It’s nice to see the frame go up and it flies up as well, it took less than a week to go up – it will start to look less like a car park and much like a construction project once the steel frames are up.”
Once work is complete on the new development, work will take place on some of the existing areas of the building to improve different aspects of the school. Nottinghamshire County Council is picking up the bill for the development.
Written by: thehitnetwork
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