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New academy opens at former MOD research establishment in Portland

The opening follows the completion of a £25m refurb

Posted by Stephanie Broad | October 26, 2016 | Facilities & buildings

The Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy (IPACA) has opened the doors of its brand new campus following the completion of a £25m refurbishment project at the former Ministry of Defence (MoD) research establishment.

Delivered by lead contractor, Wates Construction, the remodelled building at Maritime House hosts flexible teaching spaces for group learning and a variety of newly introduced features, including a sports hall.

The new development has been designed in accordance with IPACA’s ‘schools within schools’ model, providing students with the facilities of a larger academy in a more intimate campus setting. 

The refurbished 1950s building originally housed the Admiralty Underwater Weapons Establishment (AUWE), which developed weaponry throughout the Cold War. 

As part of Wates’ commitment to creating engagement initiatives with the school, the contractor held a number of building workshops and site tours for pupils over the course of the project.

The new 1,730 capacity academy, attended by pupils aged between four and 19 years, will bring together all students and teachers under one campus after being based across three separate sites on Portland.

Peter Whitmore, Business Unit Director, Wates Construction Southern Home Counties and South West, said: “The project at IPACA showcases the way in which we consistently work to deliver on our clients’ individual needs, a specialism that can be seen across all of our education schemes in the region. 

“Overseeing the conversion of a former MoD research establishment has required a thorough understanding of what is a very distinctive building and our project team’s proficiency has resulted in a unique learning environment that will cater to the school’s education model.”


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