Essex school unveils £4.5 million teaching block

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St Bernard's High School

A multi-million project to build a new state-of-the-art teaching block at a school has completed – improving facilities for hundreds of youngsters in Southend.

St Bernard’s High School in Westcliffe-on-Sea and Essex property and construction consultancy Ingleton Wood are celebrating the successful completion of the three-year project despite the challenges posed by Covid-19 and lockdowns.

The three-storey building comprises cutting-edge classrooms, offices, toilets, servery, and a sixth form common area allowing for an additional form of entry.

It comes amid rising demand for school places across Essex and means St Bernard’s capacity has risen by 150 to 1,075 in total.

St Bernard's High School
A food tech classroom

Judith Krone, school business manager at St Bernard’s High School, said: “Having previously submitted a planning application to Southend Borough Council for a smaller extension which then gave rise to extended conversations about design, it was joyful that Ingleton Wood were able to produce a design that was acceptable to us, the planners and to the local community.

“Having new classrooms with modern specifications is proving to be a real bonus in helping us to continue providing support to those children who need to remain in school during the lockdown.”

Ingleton Wood provided multi-disciplinary services throughout with the firm’s architectural expertise being showcased in the design of a modern contemporary building which is in keeping with local buildings.

The school now boasts the latest mechanical and electrical installations in the new classrooms, such as comfort cooling and interactive teaching walls.

St Bernard's High School
Interactive teaching walls (all photos: Clare Banks Photography)

Chris Mabbutt, director at Ingleton Wood, which project managed the build and has offices in Billericay and Colchester, said: “Despite the unique challenges posed by Covid-19, we are very pleased to deliver this fantastic new teaching block for St Bernard’s High School.

“The facility was designed to be in keeping with existing sixth form classrooms but features improved energy efficiency, greater use of space, and better value for money for the school.”

The project was funded by Southend Borough Council and also includes the modernisation of existing buildings and facilities, such as the refurbishment of the science department and the relocation of the fitness suite and staff rooms. New changing rooms and a food technology classroom were also built.

Ingleton Wood is one of the largest property and construction consultancies covering Central England, East Anglia, London and the South East, with offices in Colchester, Norwich, Cambridge, Billericay, Oxford and London. Its services include architecture, building surveying, building services engineering, planning, interior design, civil and structural engineering, quantity surveying, project management and health and safety.