07.03.2011

Work is fully underway on Make's first school. The £33.5million redevelopment of the 2,000 pupil Thomas Clarkson Community College in Wisbech is part of the Fenland BSF Initiative, led by Investment group Equitix and contractor Kier Eastern.

The Fenland BSF was one of the final schemes to be given the go-ahead before the programme was scrapped last year. The 16,200m² project will consolidate and redevelop the school buildings as part of a process to offer educational and cultural facilities to enrich both the school itself as well as Wisbech and the wider area.

An existing block will be retained and forms one of five 'fingers' of learning communities which fan out from a central 'Eden' heart. Large enough to occupy all 2,000 pupils, the three storey space forms the central circulation and dining space and links all the elements of the school together - aiding wayfinding. Yet despite being large enough for all pupils to meet together Eden also provides opportunities for small group work or private study. A strong internal landscaping scheme has been incorporated to the space to reflect the regions horticultural heritage and key structural and sustainable features, such as cross laminated timber and photo voltaic panels, are deliberately visible for teaching opportunities.

Greg Willis, Lead Architect and Partner at Make said: "The school has recently extended its range to accommodate students over the age of 16 and as such there has been a significant focus on the wider community to inspire and encourage young people and adults to continue their learning."

"An extensive engagement process has influenced every aspect of the building's design enabling staff and pupils to actively participate in shaping their school's future. Designed to promote social inclusion as well as to be adaptable to future requirements in terms of capacity, function and sustainability, the school operates around 'Eden' which is in effect a physical, social and intellectual hub. It is this space which gives the school its identity and which changes it from a building to a 'community facility'."

The existing remodelled block will anchor the school at one end and will house the main school entrance and administration facilities, with a sports centre, theatre and community entrance anchoring the school at the opposite end. Completion is scheduled for Autumn 2012.

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