Ardmore was chosen to build the UK’s first Jewish, cross-communal, state-funded secondary school, catering on an equal basis to the needs of the entire Jewish community.
The Jewish Community Secondary School (JCoSS), in Barnet, North London, uses the latest technology and offers a superb quality environment to its students, with dance studios, science laboratories, music and ensemble rooms, food preparation, art, all-weather pitches, a dedicated synagogue, landscaped grounds and spaces for outside learning.
The project was completed, including fit out, in just 78 weeks, during which time Ardmore reduced build and running costs significantly through value engineering. Ardmore achieved this demanding deadline due to its innovative approach, extensive in-house capabilities and experience.
The new school is set out as four separate blocks (A-D), linked to a magnificent atrium. At its heart, the main assembly hall and dedicated synagogue have been fitted with bespoke curved fibrous plaster and GRG (glass reinforced gypsum) acoustic panels.
Bespoke Building Management Systems have been designed and installed for each block by Ardmore to manage all windows, lighting, heating and the PA system. The intricate lighting system is controlled by a Passive Infrared (PIR) system that responds to levels of natural daylight and adjusts to the needs of the schoolchildren and their activities.
Block A includes a specially-designed wing for children with learning difficulties, featuring a two-way assessment room, lecture hall and classrooms, as well as fitness room and hydrotherapy pool equipped with hoists. Extensive LED lighting produces 15,000 different colour settings to create the right ambience for students.
Classrooms in Block A have been designed according to children’s abilities. For example, some have standard white walls and are naturally ventilated, whilst others, for children with severe autism, feature calming blue walls, mechanical ventilation, with no more than three grills to minimise noise levels, and power sockets fitted below desk level. In Block B, classrooms benefit from natural ventilation and night-time cooling.
In Block C the science laboratories have been fitted with gas guards and an extract reversible fan system. Block D houses the sports hall, commercial and home economics kitchens, music room with recording studio and woodwork room, together with a plant room equipped with a 150kw biomass boiler, four gas boilers and a rainwater harvesting tank.
Value Engineering & Value Enhancement
The original design for the sports hall proposed timber-lined acoustic panels internally, which would have been time-consuming to build and could result in maintenance issues later. Ardmore worked with the project team to design an alternative solution, incorporating acoustic blocks and Ecophon acoustic panels, thereby reducing the duration and cost of construction by £80 per square metre. Another benefit of Ardmore’s value engineering expertise was the construction of a sloping concrete roof slab in lieu of timber trusses for a curved Kalzip-profiled roof to three teaching blocks. This simpler form of construction also increased headroom, providing a better teaching environment.
Natural ventilation and daylight are prominent design features throughout JCoSS, supported by a separate Building Management System for each block designed and installed by Ardmore to control mechanical and natural ventilation and heating. The school has been fitted with a 150kw biomass boiler, four gas boilers and a tank for rainwater harvesting – all contributing to a Very Good BREEAM rating.
Following building completion in only 78 weeks as scheduled, the new school was able to open as planned at the start of the new academic year in September 2010.