The Scott Brownrigg-designed Great Western Academy (GWA) in Swindon has completed. The £21 million building was built by BAM Construction.
Won through the ESFA Framework with BAM, the Academy has been developed in close collaboration with the ESFA and New College Swindon.
Built on the fringe of the award-winning Tadpole Garden Village development, the new 9,350 sq m school for 1,210 pupils includes a 460-place sixth form and offers stunning views towards the Cotswolds.
The academy has been developed in response to Swindon’s need for more education places, following a growth in new local housing developments and a population surge.
With modern, state-of-the-art facilities to support 21st century learning, the architectural design promotes openness and transparency, central to the school’s educational philosophy.
Academy Principal Graham Davis said of the new design, “The Great Western Academy building is visually striking both inside and out, and has been designed to maximise teaching and learning opportunities. It provides a light and vibrant environment in which our students will be able to thrive, making the very most of specialist areas such as the science labs, activity studio, sports hall and main hall/theatrical space. The spaces outside have been carefully thought through to mix sport and social areas effectively. The excellent design, by Scott Brownrigg, means that many parts of the building can easily be made available for use by the community at evenings and weekends too, meaning that it we can help benefit all those living locally, not just our students.
There are just 18 schools in the country opening in brand new buildings this year and this must be one of the best, we feel very fortunate to be able to have such a superb environment in which to develop and grow our students.”
Arranged over three storeys, the design incorporates four distinct areas within it – Sports and Cmmunity Drama, Music and Art, General teaching and the IT rich Heart space. The central space has been maximised and creates a hub to the Academy, which contains dining and social enrichment areas, a library, administration areas and a feature staircase, and provides a connection to the wider facilities and external areas. The central space aids passive supervision and spills out onto a protected courtyard that is partially covered by an upper level overhang.
The reception and administration areas overlook the main entrance, which helps with security and creates an active frontage to the building.
BAM’s Construction Manager Rob Shipp said: ‘The school looks smart with a clean and fresh design and great views. It will be a lovely place for young people to learn and develop. It's been a big success for the Education and Skills Funding Agency and for the school. Our collaborative approach has worked very well and and I think the parents, teachers and the community will truly appreciate these new facilities.'
With a strong focus on Business, ICT and Enterprise, and with close links to local and international businesses, a professional working environment has been delivered which visually references these business connections. This approach has not only met the ethos of the Academy, but has also delivered a cost effective new building for the Academy and its community.
The official opening takes place on the 22nd October.