Bemerton St John Primary School
The school is located on a main road, itself a very busy local shortcut. The original main entrance gate, opened directly onto the playground, and was accessed via the school’s car park. The school’s secure lobby was located beyond the playground and was completely ineffective, as visitors had to walk through the playground in order to access it. Added to this, the entrance gates were regularly left open by departing visitors.
Our brief was to secure funding by CIF bid, to design a new reception and entrance for the school, and to create safe access into the school, away from cars. The new reception needed to provide a clear view of visitors arriving, and direct access into the secure lobby -all of this to be achieved without going through the playground.
The school house, which is attached to the original school hall, had its own front garden with pedestrian access from the main road. Refurbishment of the school house enabled us to relocate the school offices into this building. A brand-new timber clad, glazed, single storey extension, created a new secure lobby facing the road, providing reception with a direct view of visitors and safe pedestrian access, away from cars. The new extension consisted of a wide, spacious corridor, linking the existing school and the relocated offices in the school house; a bright, welcoming lobby with seating area for visitors; and an accessible visitors’ WC. The new building also included a SEN/meeting room, space for which was achieved by building on the unused courtyard that existed between the school and the school house.
The project started on site in mid-February 2020 and had to be carried out through the various COVID lockdowns, whilst complying with all the Government’s COVID restrictions.
The school is delighted with the new extension, which has provided a safe and secure entrance, but the added benefit of new facilities, achieved by creatively using what was an empty, damp property and unused outside space.