The Big School and Reith refurbishment project

The genesis of this large refurbishment project lies with the completion of the superb Dyson Building and the School having the opportunity to upgrade the former Science and IT classrooms. In September 2021, work started to scope and design a scheme to upgrade the East Wing of Big School (Phase 1) and the remainder of the Reith Building (Phase 2). The project’s aims include – to restore the 120 year old East Wing to provide modern and up to date classroom facilities on a par with the Dyson experience; to upgrade the >50 year old Reith building to also provide modern classroom facilities; to enhance energy performance of the buildings; to provide new office space and most importantly a new second floor in Big School that links with the Reith second floor to provide a new exam and study space for pupils.

Visualisation of the Reith 2nd floor study/exam area

With the School’s Estates Department acting as the ‘client’ and working closely with our architect, Hudson Architects, as well as a team of professional consultants, the design has concentrated on the detail as well as the required functions for the revised spaces to ensure that not only the historic elements of the buildings are retained but also to ensure that pupils will enjoy working in the new spaces.

New Big School 2nd floor study/exam area built in the original 1902 lecture theatre

After a full and in-depth tender process, Cocksedge Construction Limited was chosen as the main contractor for this project. Progress has been swift and to date a full rip out in Big School has been completed, the new Big School second floor installed, the original parquet flooring prepared in readiness for sanding and polishing and first fix fully under way. In the near future work will start on the Big School sash windows to fully upgrade them (not replace) and to replace the existing glass with slimline double glazing.  Work will also commence soon to manufacture new doors to replace the existing doors on a like-for-like basis to conform with all new fire regulations. Work will soon be expanded to the roof to upgrade the current structure as required.

Work will continue through the year on Big School, culminating in June when Phase 2 in the Reith building is planned to commence.  Phase 1, Big School East Wing will be readied over the summer so that pupils will be able to use the new facilities from the Michaelmas term and it is hoped that the Reith building will be ready for use by the pupils in Summer Term ’24.