West Bromwich Collegiate Academy West Bromwich, UK
The first phase of the new West Bromwich Collegiate Academy introduces a brand new, 3-storey secondary school on a brownfield site in West Bromwich, West Midlands.
Early planning consultations highlighted that the site was underused and that the area would greatly benefit from a new educational facility that could also offer community uses outside school hours.
We delivered the new £9.1 million West Bromwich Collegiate Academy on time and on budget for the 2019 cohort. This success is due to the highly collaborative working ethos developed and maintained between Corstorphine & Wright, Interserve, the council and the wider design and client teams.
The design was modified to suit the new users’ specific requirements, proving the scheme’s inherent flexibility. Thanks to this ability to future-proof, the scheme was – and will remain – a success.
We collaborated closely with the council and Interserve Construction Ltd to develop a 2-phase, best-practice approach under the ESFA Construction Framework.
A key design goal was to maximise flexibility and circulation, allowing spaces to be easily adapted for the ever-changing educational market. The success of this approach was proven while construction was underway: Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust were awarded the contract for the delivery of education while construction was well advanced.
Subsequent client engagement meetings with the Trust and new headteacher resulted in various modifications to the building design, specifically tailoring it to their requirements. These included remodelling the reception area and administrative facilities, as well as creating an enlarged, flexible science facility.
The inherent design flexibility helps maximise efficiency, supporting effective teaching, recreation and commercial and community opportunities.
The dining area, main hall and other spaces can be combined to create larger spaces. Designated areas of the building and grounds can be opened up for out-of-hours and community recreational access.
The first phase caters for 12 classes of Year 7 and 8 students, including a canteen, main hall, library, teaching, flexible science and arts facilities. The second phase is intended to provide additional teaching and specialist subject facilities as pupil numbers rise into Key Stage 4. Phase 2 also includes a larger sports hall.
The building orientation was key. It aligns the school’s primary façade on the east/west axis to maximise natural daylight, which aids pupil concentration and wellbeing.
The site has also been designed to accommodate 2 Sport England-compliant football pitches as well as a multi-use games area (MUGA) pitch. The hall and sports facility (future phase) are therefore positioned towards the front of the site. This allows controlled public access while protecting the external amenity to the rear, as the building’s blocks form a secure line along the frontage.
This position creates safe, legible pedestrian and vehicular access routes. Vehicular drop off and parking loops off Kelvin Way and runs to the right along a one way path, while service access is diverted to the left. Pedestrian and vehicular access are separated and controlled where crossing is required.
Completed in summer 2019, ready for the September 2019 intake, the new facility includes a main hall, general and flexible teaching spaces, catering facilities and associated support and administrative provision.
This new multi-million pound secondary school provides over 750 school places and is a best-in-class example of education provision for Key Stage 3 children.