Tandem Contracts Ltd constructed the new early years extension at Bexhill Academy in Sunderland. Bexhill is part of the WISE Academy Group, a multi-academy trust based in the North East of England.
Due to growing success and increasing pupil numbers the school’s aim was to increase available teaching space by remodeling existing classrooms as well as constructing a new, purpose-built early years facility at their Bexhill Academy site. A 12m x 9m extension was constructed using brick and block cavity construction; external walls insulated to achieve a u-value of 0.18W/m2K in line with current standards.
Two intermediate steel beams span the 9m width to create a large open plan space; the extension linked to the existing building by a 4m glazed bi-folding door. Contained within the footprint of the extension is a sensory room featuring a curved wall and ‘egg shaped’ window, as well as various sensory play equipment. Another 9m glazed partition at the opposite end of the room provides level access to newly installed external play equipment. The idea being to better connect the internal and external spaces and encourage learning through play.
Windows of varying sizes and shapes installed at different heights add a level of interest. Two projecting window seats offer a functional purpose internally while increasing aesthetic interest externally.
Remodelling existing classrooms:
A new kitchenette and toilet with toddler changing facilities were installed as part of the remodelling of the two existing classrooms. This included new flooring, upgraded lighting and small power in addition to full redecoration of all walls.
Delays during the design phase meant the project started later than anticipated. Despite this, the project finished on time and within budget ready for new pupils scheduled to start in September 2017. The project took 14 weeks to complete.