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PHOTOGRAPH BY GLEN KING
Back Row: Paul Cockram - Regional Construction Manager, Interserve Construction / James Laughlin – Associate Director at Hamson Barron Smith /Jane Bassett, Deputy Head Teacher – Highweek Primary School/ Kate Wotton - Architect NPS / Daisy Hutson – Interior designer NPS / Chris Jay - Director of Design and Maintenance – NPS Front Row: Young learners – Highweek Primary School & Nursery
Property design and management consultants, NPS South West, based in Exeter, went ‘back to school; when they revisited their £1.4m classroom extension project at Highweek Primary & Nursery School in Newton Abbot, 12 months on. The project constructed by Interserve, was completed in summer 2016, with Hamson Barron Smith (HBS), part of the NPS Group, as design and management consultants, providing building surveying; structures and civils, and building services design. The dedicated construction team returned to site, and met with teaching staff and pupils, to check the new extension had met fully with the school’s vision and future-proof expectations, after a year’s use.
Jane Bassett - Deputy Head Teacher said: “We were delighted that the NPS team and Interserve came back to visit the project after a year of use; and we told them that we wouldn’t have changed a thing.”
Chris Jay Director of Design and Maintenance – NPS said: “As part of leading the design team, we’re delighted to have had the imagination to create something we think is great fun, exciting and allows the children to learn and develop in a stimulating environment.” He adds: “As a team, we felt it was important to revisit the school a year after the completion of the project, to meet the teachers and children and are very pleased to hear the school are extremely happy with their new facilities.”
The proposal was to carry out alterations and minor extensions to the existing school creating an additional classroom, new secure entrance lobby, hygiene, SEN and studio room. The two-phased development of extra accommodation, looked to provide 420, 5 – 11 year primary places with the 14 classrooms, plus nursery, school and children’s centre remaining operational throughout construction, with minimal disruption to staff and pupils. The new build was contained as a separate site, whereas the alterations to the main school had to be partly carried out whilst the school was in use. NPS worked with the contractor and client to facilitate a secure working zone, keeping the public safe, and disruption to a minimum.
This scheme is part of a major, £1.9m capital investment programme at Highweek Primary School by Devon County Council to increase school places across the county to meet the growing primary school population.
Neil Pateman, Senior Project Officer - Devon County Council said: “We are delighted with the final new teaching block at Highweek. It’s a great testament to what can be delivered when the design team fully listen to the requirements of the client and end user. The NPS team have worked tirelessly, and been very flexible with the school’s needs, to make sure the building really delivers to the requirements of early years, and foundation stage teaching. We have worked closely with the main contractor Interserve to make sure the high quality of the finished product lives up to the high quality of the design.”
Highweek Primary School wanted to incorporate a range of colours in the façade which would appeal to the youngest children. The design solution was to use blue brick with contrasting light grey mortar and punches of colour framed by chunky white windows. The stepped eaves detail creates a slim line appearance whilst the dark grey roof matched with the blue brick creating a homogenous mass, giving the appearance of height and elegant proportions.
Interior design was carried out by Daisy Hutton of NPS, who created a warm inviting, colourful and energetic environment for the children to learn and thrive. Three different schemes were initially drawn up for the school to consider, and a lime and raspberry theme, matching the school’s uniforms and branding was chosen.
Jane Bassett - Deputy Head Teacher concludes: “We worked very closely with NPS in the design of the school, and had a lot of say in what was going to be used. As a proactive school, we encourage an outdoor activity based approach with learning through play, which works well with the design. It enables the teachers and the children to work together more as a unit, and the nursery working with them as well. The open plan classroom has been cleverly designed and acoustically optimised, which enables two classes to run simultaneously. She adds: “We have also had really positive feedback from visiting parents who are considering sending their children to Highweek, about the atmosphere, outdoor space and the classrooms - they loved it!”