Pakefield High School

“We are both delighted and proud to have handed over thefinal phase of Pakefield High School to Suffolk County Council in good time toopen its doors to pupils at the start of the new school year. This fantasticresult is the culmination of an almost six-year process which has involved alot of input and hard work from everyone involved.” Matthew Self,Executive Director – Commercial, Concertus 

The Brief:

As part of Suffolk’s SOR programme, Lowestoft needed a new high school to accommodate 900 pupils aged 11 to 16. The site at Pakefield Middle was chosen to fulfil this vision. Delivered over three phases, the first was the construction of a new dedicated high school completed in 2011.

With the withdrawal of funding, phase two and three meant there had to be a re-think of design, facilities and budget. Concertus was engaged by Suffolk County Council at this stage, with a brief to manage these challenges and oversee the completion of the new school, together with a new sports hall and MUGA pitch.

The Scope:

The decision to appoint Concertus as lead consultant for the project was driven by our expertise in project management and architectural design. For nearly six months of pre-contract activity, we provided and established the client’s brief which included engagement with all the stakeholders to fully deliver the project vision and aspirations, to programme and budget. We completed the full technical design and managed the tender documentation until construction of Phase two commenced in June 2013.

Throughout the pre-contract activity, several designs were provided to meet the difficult requirements of both phases two and three of the project. At that time, we identified the challenges within the contract and design and solved all aspects. This included a late variation to the phase two contract sum by the budget holder which required us to make significant savings whilst works were just starting on site.

The Result:

We produced an exemplar design for a relatively low capital outlay. The long-term viability of the school is good with evidence of improved results already noted. Rated as “good” by Ofsted, school places are in demand and the school is heavily-oversubscribed.

In addition, Phase Three involved the construction of a new sports hall and MUGA pitch. In its support for the community, the School strives to ensure access to buildings and facilities are promoted and made available to the local community, and that this is done with careful attention to mutual benefit and convenience.

Highlights of the new building include:

  • A contemporary and appealing frontage to the school, transforming its setting and providing a striking visual impact for visitors and residents using the busy A12 roundabout at the entrance to Lowestoft.
  • Main features include a largely open plan, double height central area – ‘The Street’ – which links the learning spaces together and forms a dynamic and vibrant hub to the building, whilst also providing activity areas, dining facilities, group breakout areas and informal teaching spaces.
  • A dedicated administration block, which includes direct access for both public and pupils both inside and outside of the building, with lines ensuring the safety and security typically expected within a school campus layout
  • Construction throughout is steel frame and masonry, which provides a high thermal mass. This, together with the underfloor heating and natural ventilation strategy, ensures a comfortable and stable internal temperature. The ETFE roof allows vast amounts of natural light into the central core of the building providing a healthy learning environment.
  • A new sports hall and MUGA, although these facilities are tucked away behind the main school building, which can be accessed separately via Kilburn Road, the previous access to the old Middle School.