Construction starts on new learning centre at Downe House

The new multi-million-pound Centre for Learning at Downe House School is due to be completed by July 2018

Construction has started on a new multi-million-pound Centre for Learning at leading independent girls’ school Downe House in Cold Ash near Newbury.  

The new centre, which is being built by Swindon-based regional construction company Beard, will include a state-of-the-art new library, 250-seat, multi-purpose auditorium, teaching spaces, cafe, shop, resources hub and offices. The cutting-edge new facility will function as a central hub for the 560-pupil school’s wider campus, which teaches pupils from ages 11-18. Beard is working with Design Engine Architects on the development.

It’s a great privilege for us to help create facilities for young people to develop their life chances – Marc Bayley, director of Beard Swindon

“We’re delighted to be starting works on this fantastic new learning centre and be a part of the project team which will be transforming a longstanding school ‘vision’ into reality,” says Marc Bayley, director of Beard Swindon.

“We have extensive experience of building in live education environments and our construction team will be working very closely with the school to ensure that the project is delivered with minimum impact and disruption to pupils and staff. It’s a great privilege for us to help create facilities for young people to develop their life chances and we’re really looking forward to seeing the new Centre take shape.”

The low carbon building which has been designed to minimise energy consumption will meet the BREEAM ‘Excellent’ sustainability standards with energy-saving features, such as a thermally-efficient building envelope, and maximising the use of natural daylight and ventilation in addition to the wider integration of a range of low and zero carbon technologies.

Headmistress, Emma McKendrick comments: “We are delighted that Beard has started construction on this remarkable project, which will be transformational for Downe House and will give the School a learning and social hub in the heart of the site.

“The new Centre for Learning will benefit every girl and member of staff in the School and will help us to achieve our aim to provide girls with an all-round holistic education to equip them with the knowledge and skills, as well as the self-confidence, to play a full and positive part as global citizens and women ready for an international workplace.

“We will be following the work on the construction site closely and look forward to seeing our vision for the project turning into a reality.”

The project is due for completion in July next year.

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