State-of-the-art sustainable secondary school

From farmland to 7,000m2 state-of-the-art sustainable secondary school in just 41 weeks 

To meet growing demand for secondary school places following an increase in housing and rising birth rates in the area, Cambridgeshire County Council needed to build a brand new school for 750 pupils aged 11 to 16. It was to be the first new secondary school constructed in the county for 30 years. 

Kier Construction awarded Portakabin Group the contract to provide three, two-storey curriculum wings for the new secondary school, using its revolutionary Portakabin Design and Build solution. 

The use of off-site construction offered a sustainable solution, reducing the number of vehicle movements and work on site. The Portakabin Design and Build solution also offered complete flexibility for space planning and future reconfiguration.

“The children and staff absolutely love their new school and you would never know the teaching wings were built in a factory. The feel is very solid and robust and we particularly like the amount of space and light, the wide corridors and the size of the classrooms. If we need to expand the school in the coming years, we would definitely consider an off-site solution again, which would give us the opportunity to increase capacity very quickly and easily.”

Sean Sumner, Deputy Head, Cambourne Village College

The modules were delivered to site with a high-performance concrete floor already in place, further reducing work on site. Such rigid floors help to improve building quality and acoustics, and provide the robust finish needed for a secondary school environment.

Matthew Chillingsworth, Senior Project Manager at Kier Construction says: “The use of off-site construction provided us with the quality and speed of construction that the school required to meet the council’s deadline for opening at the start of the new academic year. The approach created a watertight building envelope at a much earlier stage in the project, which was safer and cleaner for other trades who were working on the site at the time.”

The building was clad in a combination of timber, dark brickwork and render to create a strong identity for the new school and to reflect the surrounding landscape. The school features a range of sustainable innovations, including heat-recovery ventilation, an air-source heat pump to heat the hall spaces and daylight presence detectors to automatically switch off lights.

The whole development from farmland to finished school took just 41 weeks.

Building Location


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