A NEW school that opened in February has been highly commended in an award ceremony for community buildings.
Hamilton School, on Bulmershe Road, replaced Phoenix College on Christchurch Road, and is operated by the Maiden Erlegh Trust.
The £8 million school, part funded by Reading Borough Council and the Department for Education, was celebrated in the Society for Public Architecture, Construction, Engineering and Surveying (SPACES) awards.
Delivered by Reading Council’s Property & Assets Education Development Team, in partnership with Hampshire County Council, the new school is a conversion and refurbishment of a 1970s concrete- framed office building.
The brief was to re-house the school to a purpose-made facility that combines comfort, environmental performance and robustness, in a space which also felt homely and non-institutional.
Ruth McEwan, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Education and Public Health, was delighted.
“Children and young people at Hamilton School have very challenging events of trauma or personal situations, and complex needs as a result,” she said.
“It was wonderful to see them move into their brand-new home at Bulmershe Road earlier this year, which offers them the possibility to enjoy practical subjects that were just not possible in their old building due to its limitations.
“Huge congratulations to everybody involved in this project.”
She added: “The creation of a new home for Hamilton School sits within the Council’s wider special educational needs strategy to support some of Reading’s most vulnerable pupils. The strategy will also see proposals being developed for more specialist SEN units, and an overall increase in the number of Early Years SEN places being offered.”
And Jonathon Peck, Chief Executive Officer, Maiden Erlegh Trust, said it was delighted that students and staff have a building they can be proud of, with new facilities designed around their needs.
“The fact that Hamilton School was awarded with a special commendation at the national Spaces award event last week is testament to the hard work put in by the design team and staff that worked on the project,” he said.
“Maiden Erlegh Trust is committed to delivering ‘opportunity, diversity and success for all’ and I would like to thank the huge team of people that worked so hard to get this project over the line.”
Brian Grady, Interim Director of Children’s Services and Director of Education at Brighter Futures for Children, said: “This project has made a huge difference to everyone at Hamilton School as it has created a modern, comfortable environment which is much more suitable for pupils to learn and develop.
“The new Hamilton School building is a landmark project in Reading’s strategy to provide more quality local school places for children and young people with additional needs and is worthy of the national recognition it is has received.”