Education Week – Tuesday: Pipeline Projects
LEP has many interesting education projects in the pipeline at various stages of delivery; from intriguing feasibilities where we work closely with our clients and stakeholders to find solutions to sometimes challenging briefs, through to projects currently nearing completion on site where enthusiasm to see the building finished and in-use is palpable.
We are excited that our current pipeline portfolio features all education levels; through nursery provisions, to primary schools and secondary schools, and on to further education colleges and higher education universities.
Projects range in size from small refurbishments to large multi-million-pound campus schemes… but whatever scale the works, one thing is clear: providing pupils and teachers with inspiring and practical spaces in which to learn and teach will enhance education and wellbeing – a shared objective of all members of LEP’s educational design team.
Collaboration and consultation lie at the heart of our delivery ethos – and none more-so epitomised than by our education team. Through our 40+ years of designing for educational establishments, we have developed a deep breadth of knowledge and understanding of how to design well in this field… it’s not just about the bricks and mortar, but also about the overall experience, engagement, and wellbeing that well designed teaching spaces offer. Gone are the days of cramped, draughty mobile classrooms and oppressive-feeling institutions, replaced with spacious, comfortable and inspiring environments which can provide flexibility for changing curriculums. LEP is proud to have amassed such a strong portfolio and reputation for consistently and successfully delivering these positive teaching environments over the years.
Today, We’ll be showcasing one of our exciting pipeline schemes, ‘Alkerden Education Campus’, led by Partner, Mark Nolan, at the emerging Ebbsfleet Garden City…
Alkerden Education Campus @ Ebbsfleet Garden City
Following competitive tender, LEP was selected as lead designer on this substantial campus development scheme.
The Campus brief was to provide teaching accommodation for children from nursery age through to those in further education, provide specialist places for those with special educational needs, as well as maximising value of the site by provide community facilities also – a challenging brief when security and efficient use of space would be important, together with the challenge of creating a landmark building on a strategic commuter route.
Responding to this wide brief, LEP Partner, Mark Nolan, set about undertaking a series of consultation workshops to fully understand not just the requirements of the financial stakeholders in the scheme and those of the local planning authority, but also the community themselves to understand what they need and desire from such a key development within the ‘city’.
Various idea brainstorming stages and a careful consideration of effective use of every square metre of the 11-hectare site led the LEP team to the finalised design for the education campus.
Ebbsfleet Garden City – Site Location shown in red
Developed by Henley Camland and project managed by Academy Consulting, the ‘Alkerden Education Campus’, as it will be known, will extend across 11.1 hectares and provide more than 2,200 places to nursery, primary and secondary school pupils and will be operated by The Aletheia Anglican Academy Trust. The scheme also includes a dual-use community sports centre which will accommodate 500 people at any one time, together with extensive external pitches. It is estimated that constructions cost for the new Campus will be in the region of £55 million.
Proposed secondary school on strategic ‘Fastrack’ commuter route
A prime location positioned between Kent and London, over 15,000 new homes are planned for Ebbsfleet Garden City, and as such the education campus will provide an important community and civic anchor for the area.
Our London Partner, Mark Nolan, who is leading the design of the new Campus, said:
“We feel that – despite the project’s size – our design will create a welcome, comfortable and productive learning environment that positively encourages staff and pupil wellbeing. We recognise the importance of establishing a place which will become a centre for the local community by maximising opportunities for the school facilities to be used outside regular school hours. We look forward to seeing how the creation of this leading education and community facility will benefit the surrounding, growing community in the future.”
Proposed primary school
Despite the complications of COVID-19 and Brexit, and with the help of a carefully chosen design team on board – each of whom were selected for their proven expertise in their field – LEP was overjoyed with the successful granting of planning permission for the scheme in late January 2021.
Since January the team have been working hard to develop the design in readiness for construction, which is currently scheduled for April 2022.
LEP has also been using the scheme in-house to test and hone our virtual reality delivery experience – an additional service that LEP hope to clients to add value to our offering in the future. The scale and detail afforded to this scheme makes it a perfect candidate for trailing this exciting new service… we can’t wait to show you more in the near future!
Education team member Sam Willis trialing LEP’s new VR technology
We look forward to showing you more progress on this wonderful scheme as works develop… watch this space!