The Bridge School

“The new Bridge School campus is magnificent. It is brilliant to see the investment going into our wonderful Special School, providing an exceptional learning environment. Local companies, ISG and Concertus have done a sterling job, providing a low carbon and value-for-money building.” Ben Gummer MP for Ipswich

The Brief: For a number of years, The Bridge School had operated from two sites six miles in Ipswich. The school caters for children aged three to 16 who have severe, profound and complex learning difficulties. Suffolk County Council wanted a new primary campus to be built on land adjacent to the existing secondary campus in Sprites Lane.

The Aim: The project was envisaged as phase one of a staged programme which bring all the children together on one campus and provide facilities and an environment that would meet the special educational needs of the pupils. Future phases will aim to provide improved shared accommodation and replacement facilities for the secondary-aged pupils.

The Scope: Pre-contract, Concertus and ISG worked closely together to agree the final cost and specification. Concertus had been involved right from the start, undertaking the feasibility study and carrying out the design. Key design considerations included accessibility, ergonomics, internal and external colour palettes and the provision of well designed external spaces. The building was also designed to be highly efficient and incorporates a biomass boiler, as well as high performance building materials including photovoltaic panels to mitigate its impact on the environment. Concertus then managed the project on behalf of the client throughout construction.

The Result: The stand-alone, single-storey, cross-laminated timber (CLT) frame building provides 10 class spaces, office and specialist accommodation including an occupational therapy and physio gym, soft and sensory play rooms and a new school hall. The use of the CLT frame meant that the construction time programme was considerably shorter than with traditional methods of construction. A wide ranging landscaping scheme has been designed and installed to provide for the specialist needs of the pupils.

“With the new primary school completed, the children’s special educational needs have been met with state-of-the-art facilities. As well as the excellent facilities inside the building, every classroom has access to its own dedicated outdoor area, as well as an outdoor science classroom, a sensory garden and excellent play facilities. Education beyond the classroom is so important for our pupils and these new facilities provide incredible opportunities to enhance their learning.” Odran Doran, Headteacher, Bridge School