Crown Hills Community College

"Empowering tomorrow’s global citizens with the courage to be innovative, independent and responsible, and the wisdom to be successful, healthy and happy"

Background

Crown Hills Community College is a 100% new build school on the existing school site. The scheme was designed to a brief and accommodation schedule derived from the pupil numbers of 1200 KS 3 and 4 students together with a small number of SEN spaces. The site is 11,686 sqm and was built to a construction value of £21m. Construction work commenced in April 2011 and was officially handed over in October 2013.

Objectives for the school include:

  • To provide the highest standard of education, academic and vocational, to students of every ability to help each one to achieve their maximum potential
  • To use the BSF experience as the opportunity to change the face of education
  • Encourage healthy lifestyles in order to combat some of the health problems endemic in the local population
  • Enable more integrated approaches to learning and teaching as well as specialist facilities for Science, Music, Art and Technology

Materials for the façade have been chosen to integrate the building into its surroundings whilst providing an uplifting and stimulating environment to learn. These materials have been considered to reflect the ethos of a modern community college providing an elegant, modern timeless image without resorting to the use of currently fashionable materials which will date the building quickly. Materials have also been chosen being mindful of their location and intended use; robust and durable to ensure the building ages well. The use of a local brick integrates the building into its surroundings with intermittent use of curtain walling at natural open or circulation areas to lighten and contrast the solid nature of the brickwork and signal entry points to the building.

Comments:

Head Teacher Bernie Green: "It's a much more grown-up environment and we think that will encourage students to become independent learners and that's what we want them to be."

"The zones mean that subject leaders can work more closely together and collaborate on cross-curricular activities, too. "It's been very exciting for all of us moving in here after many years of planning."

Cllr Dempster: "The BSF programme has hugely improved schools across the city to ensure they are fit to meet the needs of the 21st century and provide pupils with the facilities needed to get the best education possible."

Solution:

The new concept for the school addresses the site constraints and opportunities and the organisational aspirations of the brief. The scheme takes its principal geometry from the alignment of Gwendolen Road and The Approach. The angles created by these 2 roads now forms the shape of the entrance plaza which students and visitors alike use to approach the main entrance to the building. The angle of the plaza creates a natural funnel to channel users towards the main entrance.

The design is based around three learning zones connected by a 'street' to create a bright and exciting learning environment for the students with their circulation integral to the learning zone connected by a Street which runs at 2 levels.

  • Sport is located at heart of the scheme with a community entrance located off the main plaza.
  • Crown Hills is a Specialist Sports College – additional funding was supplied by the England and Wales Cricket Board in order to develop an indoor cricket facility along with outdoor grass wickets so the school is now set to be a centre of cricketing excellence for Leicester
  • There is a state-of-the-art fitness studio and a new sports hall. The fitness studio physically sits proudly forward of the main building line with a glazed frontage offering discrete views in and out.
  • STEM and Social Arts learning zones provides excellent external teaching opportunities
  • The building responds to its environment by considering its orientation and allowing each façade to address the environmental conditions appropriately. South facades have large oversailing roofs to shade upper level classrooms and brise-soleil to shade lower windows. On the Northern façade the roof overhang is replaced by a parapet.
  • Classroom windows provide maximum quantities of natural light and ventilation
  • Community facilities are located off the main entrance where access is gained to the Integrated Services Hub.
  • External works include a new service road and service yard compound, new hard play area and hard and soft landscaping
  • Phase two of the project included demolition of the existing school buildings allowing space to form new sports pitches/areas
  • The project has been designed to achieve the carbon 60 status i.e. aiming for a 60% reduction in carbon emissions from the traditional baseline.
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