Beard Construction’s Guildford office has delivered a key £6.3m refurbishment and rebuild project at St Andrew’s Catholic secondary school in Leatherhead.
Started in March 2022 and handed over April, the work saw the comprehensive conversion of existing classrooms into science labs, ICT rooms, a drama studio and design and tech classrooms, the construction of a two-storey extension to create new classrooms and offices and the construction of a new two-storey building to house food technology, ICT, business studies work rooms and a new drama studio.
Phases one and two of the work at the 1500 pupil school were carried out to a tight deadline during the summer holidays and saw existing 1950s classrooms stripped back and converted to a suite of state-of-the-art and pupil-ready science laboratories, ICT classrooms, music, and drama studio.
The finished labs included gas infrastructure and mobile fume-cupboards, while the new drama studio incorporated a new system of lighting rigs and speakers.
Phase three saw a standalone classroom block converted to provide new construction, design and technology teaching spaces.
For phase four, a new-build extension added two 400m2 floors consisting of nine new English and History classrooms, two offices and two new sets of toilets to the school’s existing Earl Building. Finished in black and gold brickwork, the classrooms are flooded with light by new five-metre windows.
Finally, phase five of the project saw the demolition of the school’s Woodlands Building and the construction of a new two-storey block, faced with Bath stone blocks and zinc cladding – which continues upwards to form a zinc roof.
The ground floor of this new 1000m2 building houses two huge food technology teaching and preparations areas, alongside a massive drama studio with a 6m-high ceiling including lighting and speaker rigs. Upstairs, the building provides four fully fitted ICT/business studies teaching rooms. The building also includes office spaces and two sets of toilets.
Apart from the initial refurbishment, all of the work has been carried out while pupils used the rest of the school. Beard traffic marshalls and banksmen ensured the safe delivery of materials across a specially constructed track-matting road on the school playing field.
Beard Guildford Director Pat Hughes said: “Beard has special expertise in the education sector and we are more than aware of the importance of creating spaces which both inspire pupils to learn as well as being great places for teachers to work. This project has transformed the learning experience for the pupils and staff at St Andrew’s School.”
St Andrew’s headteacher Alan Mitchell commented: “The ambition at St Andrew’s is simple – to be the best school in the country. We set the highest goals and expectations for every pupil and these new classrooms and teaching facilities provide the infrastructure to help us deliver on that ethos.
“Not only has the Beard team delivered a quality product on time, but it has done so with no disruption to the school’s day-to-day operation.”
Beard worked in close collaboration throughout the project with architect Hamson Barron Smith. This is the third school project in as many years where the two companies have collaborated – having previously worked together at Chart Wood School, now called Unified Academy, in Dorking and St Paul’s Catholic college in Sunbury-on-Thames.