Sector: Education

Polden Bower SEN School, Bridgwater

Project Description

SDS were appointed to produce a bespoke and holistic design for a new two-storey SEN school in Bridgewater. The £16M, 5,500m² building was to create 160 school places, bringing together pupils from two existing sites under one roof.

The school will include classrooms for both primary and secondary age pupils, a dining hall, sports hall, sensory therapy rooms, a life-skills cafe and warm water pool. The building will also house staff rooms, office, meeting and medical staff accommodation and will cater for pupils with a range of disabilities including profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD). Externally the school will include a sensory garden, multi-use games area and adventure playground.

The school, set to open in January 2021, represents a significant investment from Somerset County Council and seeks to expand and replace the existing Elmwood and Penrose School site.

Children, parents and teachers have been able to influence the design and the three-wing school will have a warm water pool for physiotherapy, a sports hall and fully accessible classrooms with latest teaching technology.

A new £16m SEN school designed specifically to meet the most complex needs and offer additional therapeutic facilities

Project Involvement

Due to the very specialist nature of the SEN end-users within the building, we are contributing to detailed co-ordination and user group meetings to ensure that room data sheets capture the additional needs of pupils.

We have been heavily involved from an early stage, meeting with the teaching staff and the various stakeholders to ensure that the detailed coordinated design fully encapsulates the requirements of the end user teaching staff and pupils.

Obtain existing site utility information and negotiate with public and other utility authorities’ on the provision of an estimate of costs for the necessary incoming services.

Prepare a low and zero carbon feasibility study energy statement to demonstrate how the proposal incorporates onsite renewable energy production.

Undertake daylight simulation calculation, identify average daylight factors achieved.

Prepare the developed design of the building engineering services, with developed design equipment schedules, schematic drawings, layout drawings and specification for tender purposes.

Developing design of systems to accommodate people with additional needs including transportation systems, alarms systems and audible visual alarms.

Project Benefits

Drawing on lessons learnt experience from previous SEN school delivery, we were able to navigate the end-users towards an access strategy that would help deliver the safeguarding procedures they required. This centred around access control and fire alarm specifications and locations.

Using our team, experienced in the deliver of both mainstream and SEN schools, we were able to be a pro-active and collaborative member of the design team. From an early stage we were able to review plant and services distribution routes to mitigate risk to the client in the later stages of the design.

Using various members of our design team who have on-site installation experience, we were able to work seamlessly through to the later design stages delivering fully coordinated and dimensioned working drawings produced using 3D Revit software. This had the benefit of reducing financial and programme risk to the client whilst also ensuring that the supply chain was supported through reduced design errors.

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