Contract Name: St Paul's Academy
Contract Value: £20.6 million
Contract Period: 95 weeks
Architect: HNW
Client: St Paul's Academy Trust

The project constitutes the construction of a new school in Greenwich for 1,200 pupils.  

The new facilities include a sports and assembly hall, kitchen and refectory, admin spaces and general teaching spaces as well as specialist areas that include dance and drama, music, food technology, science laboratories, multi-materials laboratories and associated external hard and soft landscaping, all to reach a BREEAM Very Good rating.

The main building is a concrete frame for high thermal mass, built on VCC piled foundations with PCC Widespan units at ground floor and flat slab concrete first floor and roof. The assembly and sports halls are of steel frame construction, again supported by VCC piles.  The surface water drainage design utilises sustainable urban drainage techniques to allow natural soakage into a storage facility underneath the hard landscaping due to lack of capacity in the existing infrastructure.

The finish to the flat roof was enhanced to give better lifecycle costs and the external envelope value engineered to meet the affordability criteria.  Internally, the finishes are of high quality and particular attention was paid to following the acoustic requirements set out in the contract documentation. Mechanical ventilation has been minimised by exploiting natural ventilation wherever possible, with automated controls to allow free night time cooling and reduce CO² build up throughout the teaching times.  This is fully integrated with the building management system.

There has been significant resident engagement in the project and Rydon issued a monthly newsletter to keep residents updated and informed of developments.  An important aspect of the project has been the implementation of an on-site education programme set up in collaboration with St Paul’s Academy. Rydon’s involvement in school assemblies, careers fairs, live web cam and the presentation of awards on behalf of the school at the presentation ceremony have endorsed the success of the new development.  The project was registered with the Considerate Constructors Scheme, where Rydon scored the maximum mark available on the first assessment.

The design of the new academy was dictated by a new educational model developed by the school principal and its mentors by creating a building of civic stature that welcomes the community that it serves and the new facilities will allow the academy to significantly improve the learning experience of its students.  Furthermore, it is hoped that the development of the site will act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the area and enhance learning.

This project received the Silver award for the Considerate Constructors National Site Award 2010.