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New sports and teaching facilities for Southampton academy

Freemantle C of E Community Academy extension completed

Posted by Stephanie Broad | June 13, 2016 | Facilities & buildings

Leisure design and build specialist Createability has completed work on a large extension at Southampton’s Freemantle C of E Community Academy, home to 450 pupils aged two to 11 years old. 

Building work started at the end of September 2015 and finished in April 2016. The 460 sq m extension features a large double-walled sports hall along with two double classrooms that can accommodate four classes, providing classroom space for a total of 120 children. The original sports hall has been refurbished to become the school’s library. 

Ian Cotgrave, Managing Director of Createability, says: “Whilst the project was to be traditionally procured with Architects, Project Managers and a Principal Contractor it was decided early on that the best method of delivery was through a Design and Build Contract where Createability would take on the entire delivery process. 

“This enabled a more flexible and proactive approach to be adopted and the designs to be amended to accommodate some value engineering whilst maintaining a ‘green’ and ‘eco-friendly’ nature to the build.

“This was a challenging build with some interesting technical issues. For example, special bat boxes have been installed in trees away from the building work to provide new, undisturbed homes for bats that were previously nesting in a protected tree line close to the extension.” 

Kevin Barnett, Centre Director at Freemantle C of E Community Academy, comments: “The original school site was single story, which meant there were certain sports the children could not play. The new sports hall, with its taller walls, enables the students to play ball games and netball and also provides us with additional space during lunchtime.” 

One of the classrooms over the Studio

Ian Cotgrave continues: “Freemantle C of E Community Academy is a great example of a school assessing the fitness requirements and needs of its pupils and adapting accordingly to ensure adequate facilities are provided. The single height building issue, which impacted the sports the children could play, was easily resolved during the design stage of the project with the provision of the extended height extension. 

“Also, as the building work was on the school premises, communication between Createability’s project team and the school played a pivotal role in ensuring any impact on the children and teachers was kept to a minimum and any issues resolved quickly.” 

The school originated in 1857 in a disused Laundry Room within the church grounds as a day school for boys. There was a separate school for girls. The site evolved over the years, even being used as a public air raid shelter during the Second World War in the absence of the children, and become co-ed in 1974 when it opened as ‘Freemantle First School’.

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