City of Leicester College

"To develop an excellent and inspiring community of learners... Those connected to the college will Make Their Dreams Happen. They will have time to dream and the skill and drive to make them happen."

Background

The City of Leicester College is a 100% new build school on the existing school site. The scheme is designed to a brief and accommodation schedule derived from the pupil numbers of 1200 KS 3 and 4 students, 370 6th form students and a small number of SEN spaces. Construction commenced in April 2011 and finished in October of 2013. The resulting site is 12,732 sqm.

Objectives for the school include:

  • To develop an excellent and inspiring community of learners who create a microcosm of how the world should be. To transform the experience of learners over the next 20 years
  • For The City of Leicester College’s name to be synonymous with high quality learning at an individual, local, national and global level
  • Create diversity through the increased accessibility of design and ICT
  • The school expressed a clear preference to be located at far end of the site where they are away from the busy junction on Downing Drive.
  • It was important that the school had a 'street presence', and was considered as part of the community street frontage
  • A separate Sports facility entrance for community use

Construction

To ensure that the funds for the school were used to best effect, and to minimise disruption to the school, the phasing and construction periods for the building were as simplified as much as possible. This meant minimum time on site in construction and a single decant for the school from its existing premises into the new school.

Materials for the façade were 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:

Anne Gregory, head teacher: "We are delighted with the space and the open nature of the building. It’s a facility which is efficient in its heating, lighting and use of space, which will also be useful to the wider community beyond the usual college day"

Comments:

  • New 3 storey building constructed adjacent to the current school buildings
  • 270 tiered seating hall with projection abilities for film showing and presentations
  • 180sqm activities studio suitable for 5 a side football, cheerleading, dance groups
  • Dedicated Learning Centre
  • Purpose built ICT suites
  • A recording studio and music rooms
  • Extended sports provision - including wet and dry changing rooms
  • Large space for dining and seating
  • An amphitheatre located within a courtyard between buildings
  • External works to include a new service road and service yard compound, new hard play area and hard and soft landscaping
  • Sections of the building have two different tones of brick and various glass façades will allow daylight to brighten parts of the school.

Each wing has an Independent Work Area which is a large double height resource space for lead lessons and 6th form non timetabled study. The classrooms within each learning wing are arranged around this double height space, which with circulation open to this area creates a pleasant open atmosphere far removed from traditional classroom and corridor school design.

5 key learning zones

The site layout and distribution of the schools five key learning zones was informed through the utilization of the existing site levels, school building retention, and the opportunity to use the existing mature tree planting.

Business Enterprise Centre.

The 'business and design + technology faculty' wing extends out towards the road enclosing the one side of the plaza, providing a shop front opportunity for the business students and their Business Enterprise Centre.

The four remaining learning zones generate two storey pavilion fingers that extend out from the main circulation corridor out northwards into the landscape, separated by external teaching spaces. Site organization is simple, with a service - pedestrian - vehicular hierarchy, allowing the building to be serviced and maintained in isolation of pedestrian pupil and visitor activity.

Learning Resource Centre

The Learning Resource Centre is located off the main plaza and internally is located next to the main entrance and accessed through a café space. The school vision promotes community engagement and the LRC is one facility which will be used by the community.

Sports Hall

Sports facilities can all be accessed from a separate community sports entrance.

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