This project included the build of an extension to the existing school hall and new build construction of a new multi-purpose studio for before and after school teaching provision.
This project is significant for the people of Oldham; Kingfisher School is the only special needs school for primary aged children in Oldham who have the most complex and severe learning needs. As the local population has grown, the demand for places at Kingfisher School has increased by nearly 50-per-cent in just over five years.
The construction works will include a building extension for the installation of a new hydrotherapy pool, and 2 new classrooms will be provided at the site of the old pool. The existing building will also be reconfigured to optimise the learning space available and provide further opportunities for staff to tailor their specialist teaching to meet the individual requirements of each child.
During the pre-construction period our team engaged an ecology partner and undertook a series of ecological surveys. It was identified that bats were present on site. Consequently, prior to the commencement of works we were required to obtain a European Protected Species License (EPSL) from Natural England. As such it was vital all the requirements and criteria for licence approval were met to prevent delay to the project programme. Once the EPSL was granted, works could commence in compliance with our submitted method statement, detailing capture, transport, techniques, and timescales. Bat boxes were installed prior to any removal works to ensure suitable habitats for the migrated roosts.
Kingfisher School remained fully operational throughout the works, including out-of-hours clubs and weekend activities. The site is confined with the construction area in close proximity to the school entrance. Careful consideration was therefore given to safety and disruption throughout the project. A detailed logistics plan was agreed, including full segregation using our solid timber hoarding. Deliveries were not permitted before 9 am and after 2.30 pm to avoid drop-off and pick-up times, which are particularly busy due to the large number of students arriving via taxis, mini-buses or parent drop-off. Our site manager met daily with the school caretaker to discuss planned works and any coordination changes.
A major element of the construction works was the replacement and relocation of the school’s hydrotherapy pool which is defective and no longer fit for purpose. Hydrotherapy is extensively used to help pupils with their development and is a critical part of their education. Hydrotherapy helps children maintain a range of joint and muscle movement and is particularly important for children who are confined to a wheelchair. The existing pool was over 40-years old and has been out of service for some time, which is having a detrimental effect on the children’s wellbeing and quality of life.
The school began raising funds for the pool replacement project for some time via their ‘Big Splash’ appeal and has managed to raise an impressive £100,000 towards the cost of the project. A large part of the funds required to get the project off the ground was donated by local philanthropist Sir Norman Stroller and the remaining funds were provided by Oldham Council who has recognised the urgency to provide additional places at the school to serve the local population. The fund-raising has been widely supported by the local community and the new hydrotherapy pool will be made available for use by community groups and other education providers in the borough.