This was a refurbishment of the Performing Arts Centre at Downside School, the leading Catholic independent boarding school for boys and girls in Stratton-on-the-Fosse, Radstock, Somerset.
The works included the refurbishment and alteration to the existing theatre reception, toilet facilities and adjacent performing art classrooms.
We also created a new state of the art recording studio with music editing suites, along with the introduction of two new steel staircases to offer access from the existing mezzanine floor.
“A tired and dilapidated building in the heart of the campus has been transformed into a new Performing Arts Centre. The pupils of Downside School are thrilled with the new facilities which include a new recording studio and a music technology suite and the sound of music now permeates throughout the rest of the school.” Jane Vines, Downside School.
Drama is an integral part of life at Downside and we are proud to have constructed a 400 seat theatre in their new Performing Arts Centre to showcase; concerts and plays performed by the talented students throughout the year. Constructing the new Performing Arts Centre has given students the platform to ascend in their chosen career.
The refurbishment and alteration works have really transformed the school, making it a nicer environment for the pupils to learn and the teachers to coach.
Challenges and Solutions
The works were carried out in a live school environment during term time. We meticulously programmed around key school activities including exams and army cadet training to ensure minimal disruption to the pupils and staff.
There were challenges around the acoustic elements of the building; we ensured that the new ventilation and mechanical services integrated to the auditorium without affecting acoustic insulation. We managed the coordination of the specialist sound recording studio contractors, sound engineers, specialist wiring and acousticians within a live working construction environment.
There were technical design issues including temporary works/propping/false work and integrating new steel structure and handrailing/balcony within existing building tolerances. To overcome this, we held regular design team meetings at an early stage to ensure the designs would integrate before any construction work started.
Due to planning, historical building/period building features windows and key materials were sourced from specialist contractors to match period/architectural features on extended procurement deliveries.
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