Lea Hough has been instrumental in a project which will see an entire block at Lostock Hall Academy in Preston brought into the 21st Century.
The RoSLA block at Lostock Hall Academy was originally erected in the 1970’s as part of the Raising of School Leaving Age initiative (RoSLA), which saw the age children were in full-time education raised from 15 to 16. As was the case in many schools during the 1970’s, a two-storey timber framed pre-fabricated building was added to Lostock Hall as a means of increasing capacity quickly and at a relatively low cost.
Although intended to be a temporary / short term solution to creating additional classroom space, the RoSLA block at Lostock Hall was still being used to capacity some 46 years after being erected, despite being at the end of its useful life and very much in need of a significant upgrade.
The RoSLA block at Lostock Hall was an eyesore; disliked by both teachers and pupils for its cold environment and outdated facilities. More importantly, the block was previously a risk in terms of fire safety due to its construction and materials, also proving a drain on the school’s resources due to the maintenance spend needed to maintain the building whilst avoiding disturbing asbestos.
Lea Hough were called in to advise on the RoSLA block at Lostock Hall and investigate the potential for obtaining funding for refurbishment works under the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF). The Lea Hough team initially carried out detailed surveys and prepared an Options Appraisal, comparing various options from demolition and rebuild to wholescale refurbishment. It was identified that the load bearing structure of the building was in relatively good condition and it was therefore recommended that a project comprising full refurbishment with internal alterations and improvements was the most cost-effective route. Detailed designs were prepared and a plan to completely refurbish the block, creating six main classrooms plus four group rooms, alongside toilet facilities.
Due to the nature of the works required, it was possible to apply for funding under the CIF. An application was prepared for funding to strip the building back to its existing frame and perform complete refurbishment/remodelling, ensuring that the bid met with Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) criteria. The bid was successful and £0.85 million of funding was granted, with works beginning in summer 2018.
In detail, the work at Lostock Hall will entail a whole block refurbishment, comprising:
The refurbishment of Lostock Hall Academy’s RoSLA block is set to be finished and in use by January 2019. On completion, the block will have the feel of a brand new building, providing a modern space for teaching staff to deliver the syllabus and children to learn. The project’s progress has been keenly observed by students, teaching staff and governors at the school through its various stages so far, with a great deal of anticipation for the block to be finished and begin to be used as a safe and modern learning space.
Lea Hough’s specialist team have acted as consultants to Lostock Hall Academy throughout the process, undertaking all surveys, preparing detailed drawings, designing, specifying and project managing the entire works.
This project goes to show how the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) can really make a difference to academy schools. However, refurbishment projects such as this will only be approved for funding where a bid meets the CIF’s strict criteria. Schools throughout Lancashire, Cumbria and the wider North West may be able to obtain funding for similar projects to RoSLA blocks, but it’s vital to work with the right partner.
Lea Hough are experts in this field, having helped academy schools and sixth form colleges obtain over £12 million in grants over the past 4 years alone. Our education consultants manage the entire process from start to finish – from preparing and submitting the CIF funding application (on a no-charge basis) right through to providing full project-management to ensure successful project completion.
For help, advice or to make an initial enquiry about our work in the education sector, please contact us.