Morgan Sindall Construction breaks ground on £4 million performing arts centre
Morgan Sindall Construction has begun work on a new £4 million performing arts block and extension for Ash Manor School on Manor Road in Ash, Surrey.
The main contractor was appointed through the Orbis Framework by Surrey County Council to deliver the project. It will provide welcome additional teaching space in addition to vital facilities to support arts and cultural activities in the area. The new performing arts block will be an important civic investment and used by both the school and local communities.
Plans by the architect, Re-Format outline a two-storey, steel-framed, 10,763 square foot building which will primarily be used to house a new theatre. Alongside the new performance space, Morgan Sindall Construction will deliver a control room, stage seating and lighting areas.
Six new classrooms will also be built within the block comprising two drama rooms, two music rooms, and two science labs. In order to maximise and futureproof the investment, all of the rooms will feature flexible interior design features, allowing them to adapt to different activities, group sizes and individual pupil needs.
Space for ancillary accommodation including toilets, changing rooms, a plant room and a new office will also be delivered. Solar panels will be installed onto the building to provide a more sustainable source of energy and reduce operational carbon emissions.
Another driver for the scheme comes from the local authority’s anticipation of a population surge generated by nearby housing developments. Refurbishment works are therefore scheduled to be carried out alongside the build on the school’s main building, to transform the current performing arts area into additional classrooms for increased capacity. Once complete, the project will provide 30 additional school places for secondary school aged pupils.
Outside, there will be a permeable paving area for pedestrians, whilst seven additional spaces will be added to the school’s car park. A tree protection zone has also been established, as Morgan Sindall Construction will ensure that a number of trees in the school’s grounds are retained for wildlife protection purposes.
The project was procured through the Orbis Partnership framework, a shared services partnership which is managed by the local authority alongside Brighton and Hove City Council and East Sussex County Council.
Enabling works began during the summer, with the full programme now underway.
Work is scheduled to complete on the project in time for the beginning of the 2021 academic year. The site team is working collaboratively with all stakeholders to ensure logistical restrictions imposed by the pandemic do not delay the build process.
Clifford Kinch, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “We are really pleased to have begun work on the new performing arts block for Surrey County Council. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has seen the UK’s arts industry take a huge hit and it has been a particular blow for young people given the valuable skills and education the performing arts can provide.
“This new theatre will be an important asset for both the students and the general public. It is a great example of a local authority striving to support a sustainable community with flexible buildings with shared use cases.”
Ms Bailey, Headteacher at the school, said: “Today marks an incredible milestone for our community. This building is about much more than bricks and mortar; it is about opportunity, creativity and a space where the whole community can aspire to achieve incredible things in a building they so richly deserve.
Our goal has always been to provide our students with facilities that match the exceptional quality of our teaching, ensuring that our students continue to leave us as expressive, creative performers, filled with confidence, resilience and ambition. Morgan Sindall Construction has been a delight to work with and we are truly grateful to them for being valued partners in helping us to turn a dream into reality.”
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