Felixstowe Academy

“When I arrived at the Academy new build on the morning of the handover, I could hardly believe that the day had finally come. I very much hope that this new, bright, colourful and truly inspiring space helps our students to achieve and to truly ‘make their best better’.” – Andrew Salter, Principal, Felixstowe Academy

The Brief: Felixstowe Academy was formed in September 2011 from the merger of Orwell High School and Deben High School. Initially functioning on multi-sites, a new purpose built, state-of-the-art facility was required to bring together the 1,800 students onto one campus.

The Aim: As well as being a facility that students and teachers would be proud of, the client wanted to ensure that the new academy building was an example of leading sustainable design with high levels of natural lighting, natural ventilation and a highly insulated façade designed to minimise energy consumption. It was important that, not only was the academy delivered on time and to budget, but the result would enable and sustain the provision of education fit for the 21st Century. Another important element was that the finished academy building would also serve as a community facility for sports and leisure events.

The Scope: We provided a design advisor role to the client, which included supervising the shortlist and appointment of the lead contractor for the project. For six months prior to starting the construction work on-site, we managed the pre-contract process, where we worked collaboratively with the contractor and clients to identify, evaluate, challenge and solve all aspects of the build process. We delivered ‘technical translation services’ ensuring all expectations were managed and that all stakeholders understood and agreed on the design development and build process. Throughout the construction programme which started in October 2012, we contract managed the project.

The Result: Completed on time and to budget, the new Felixstowe Academy building covers 11,000 square metres over three storeys and includes the following facilities:

  • A ‘Super Lab’ that meets modern science curriculum needs
  • A theatre-style main hall with flexible seating arrangements that includes both a retractable seating system and a sound and lighting system that can support academy and community productions and events
  • A performing arts studio and activity studio that provides specialist facilities for dance and gymnastics
  • Extensive sports facilities including a sports hall and multi-use games area built to national standards to cater for competitive netball matches and an increased number of sports fields

Measures of Success:

  • An education facility that has the flexibility to meet the needs of the local community
  • Good example of sustainable design with high levels of natural lighting and ventilation
  • 10% of the academy’s energy requirements are generated on-site through renewable sources
  • The education environment is more conducive to a college than a school
  • Completed building came in at 10% under Government recommended costs per square metre

“This exciting new development is the fulfilment of our original pledge to the students and staff that every young learner will be able to thrive in an environment which has first class facilities and the most up to date resources.” – Ian Foster, Chairman, Academies Enterprise Trust