Securing the Future for an Historic School

education design projectsHPA Chartered Architects are incredibly proud to have been working with the historic Westholme School in Blackburn in their efforts to consolidate pupil provision on one site to cut costs, reduce wasted travel time and secure a sustainable future for the school.

Westholme School has been serving the area with high quality, independent education for generations, and will be celebrating its centenary in 2023. Currently, the school is spread across three sites, which creates logistical challenges.

Having a good deal of experience of education design projects, HPA have worked with Westholme School for 25 years and has been appointed to create an inventive solution that would expand capacity at their Wilmar Lodge site, allowing all pupils to be educated on one site, but to allow juniors and seniors to maintain their own identities.

Blending the old and the new

In keeping with the school’s proud history and focus on the future for its pupils, we created innovative plans that involved both the conversion of existing buildings and new, purpose-built accommodation, all integrated in a single design.

Subject to planning permission, the project will convert to the existing art and music blocks, as well as adding extra space and facilities, allowing the school to bring all primary pupils across from the existing sites at Billinge House and Beardwood Bank, so that all ages are educated from one location.

Our talented team of Architects who have worked on many education design projects, worked closely with Westholme School to fully understand the demands on the new facilities and ensure that it met all the needs of a busy school. These consultations created some challenges, requiring the team to create designs that extended beyond the buildings themselves. The design ensures that the primary provision will have its own playgrounds, access points, drop-off areas and parking facilities, with the aim of reducing the impact of the increased student numbers on the existing pupils at the Wilmar Lodge site, creating a safer environment for all concerned.

Significant benefits

The project will deliver significant benefits, both for individual pupils and for the long-term sustainability of the school, as school principal, Lynne Horner, explains: “It will effectively bring our Westholme family together and we strongly believe that the children will benefit from being in one place,” she said. “The planned changes will also give us the assurance of long-term sustainability and the future ability to reinvest in our facilities.”

We were also conscious that the new configuration and buildings on the site should offer a sustainable and eco-friendly solution. Refurbishing and repurposing existing buildings rather than simply building from scratch significantly reduces the environmental impact of the new facilities. The team from Westholme were also pleased with the sustainability of the design created by the HPA Chartered Architects team.

The plans put forward by HPA Chartered Architects will be considered by Blackburn and Darwen Council in February. If approved, construction will proceed rapidly, with the aim of having all primary age children housed in the new facilities at the start of the new school year in September 2021.

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