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Location: Marriotts & Lonsdale Schools, Hertfordshire

Client: Hertfordshire County Council / Balfour Beatty

Value: £43m

Status: Completed January 2013

Marriotts and Lonsdale Schools

As part of the successful Balfour Beatty bid for Hertfordshire Building Schools for the Future, this new project facilitated the co-location of Marriotts School, an eight form entry mainstream secondary school, with Lonsdale School; a special school and residential facility for pupils with a wide range of physical and neurological impairments.

Developed in consultation with staff and pupils from both schools, our innovative design maximises the opportunities for the two schools to work together in order to develop a fully integrated learning community, whilst continuing to build on the success of their individual organisations. At the heart of the co-location is the 'Hub', an inspiring and stimulating environment that accommodates learning resources for both schools and is accessible to all. Careful planning allows Lonsdale school to retain its unique small school ethos, ensuring that vulnerable pupils feel safe and secure in the context of a larger school and that their specific needs are met.

Located on the first floor, residential accommodation for Lonsdale pupils benefits from access to a rich mix of facilities that extend the learning experience. A new sports hub provides both schools with an exciting opportunity to build on their already successful sports and performing arts partnerships.

The design creates a long life, loose-fit environment that can evolve with the schools, both on a day-to-day basis and further into the future, providing flexibility and adaptability throughout. The building is punctuated with a series of different sized courtyards which not only provide good levels of daylight and ventilation into the deep plan building, but also create a range of external shared learning and social spaces which help to nurture the evolving integration of the two schools.

As part of the overall bid, ArchitecturePLB worked closely with Balfour Beatty to develop a sustainable, standardised construction approach to provide cost-effective, high quality, flexible and adaptable teaching spaces. This contributes to the low energy design, achieving a BREEAM rating of Very Good.

"The pupils love the new environment with space and light. The staff love the new environment with excellent resources for moving and handling and teaching and learning. As a result the pupils are thriving and, I am sure you agree, that end of year reports show how much the pupils are learning and developing".

Maria White, Headteacher at Lonsdale, School Newsletter July 2013