The project was being undertaken under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) Pathfinder programme and also used BREEAM to guide the sustainability aspects of the design.
Cressex Community School is a secondary school located on the southern side of High Wycombe.. The project replaces the previous School and was designed to accommodate 950 pupils. The previous buildings were seen as no longer fit for purpose; they were over 40 years old, dilapidated in places and were spread over a wide area so that staff and pupils had to walk outside to move from one building to another. Also, they did not comply with the current DDA guidelines.
The area around the school also contained some high levels of deprivation and one of the aims of the project is that the new school would provide a high quality learning environment that would encourage improved participation by its young people.
It was proposed that the new school will be constructed on the existing site whilst the school remains operational. The aim was to increase the floor area so as to accommodate 900 11- 16 year olds and a sixth form of 200 with approximately 70 staff. It has become a 1,100-place secondary school with a Business and Enterprise specialist status. The project was a Design and Build project using an SECE Framework agreement. Cressex Community School provides a reduced footprint and increases the land available for sport and social activities.
The new buildings have given the school a new value and identity within the local community. The impressive interior and exterior design has given pupils an inspirational learning environment and renewed incentive to carry on with their education. In addition to the school, the site is occupied by a day nursery and a tennis centre who are private lease holders.
DQI helped participants to come to an understanding that although they wanted the new building to support the vision of the school and enhance the status of the school in the neighbourhood, they did not want a landmark building from a signature architect but rather one that would enhance the activities of teaching and learning and be welcoming to community users
DQI created discussion about the safety of the road access to the school and the pedestrian footpath. Although it was accepted that this was outside the remit of the project, it was suggested that some further discussion should take place with the Local Authority about this issue.