The Brief:

Kelvin Hall School is recognised as a popular secondary school, and before the extension it was over-subscribed due to a population boom and its positive reputation.

Run by the Yorkshire and Humber Co-operative Learning Trust, the original building was built in 2021, constructed as part of the Building Schools for the Future Programme of works which Hull Esteem was a part of from the beginning. This building offered a range of modern facilities to enhance the student learning experience. This, along with the outstanding Ofsted rating across all areas, has contributed to the schools growing popularity over the years.

This created the need to further increase capacity, as part of Hull City Council’s wider investment into educational establishments across Hull. It was also recognised that more specialist space was needed to further improve education for those children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Hull Esteem have been the driving force behind the Council’s huge £450m investment into the schools for Hull from the very beginning.

The Solution:

First things first, Hull Esteem, Geo Houltons and the wider design team undertook a detailed site appraisal so they could fully understand and appreciate the challenges and opportunities the existing site had to offer. This assured that the team were able to present the most appropriate design proposals with the school’s visual and curriculum model at the very heart.

From here, rigorous testing of all learning spaces was carried out to see if the new design suited the curriculum model in an efficient manner. This collaborative approach ensured a design solution that met the schools’ aspiration of a completed project which blended with the existing design, whilst also remaining within the cost plan.

One of the most important factors of the design was to ensure that the extension did not feel like an addition. The same materials pallet and overall design philosophy was used so that the extension could encompass the overall feel and appearance of the existing building.

Another key factor to be considered was the need for the design solution to ensure that the existing school remained operational throughout the duration of the works being undertaken.

 The Challenges:

• One of the biggest challenges was keeping the school operational throughout the duration of the project, with disruption to the school’s routine kept to a minimum,.

• The live environment posed challenges when it came to removing the roof on the existing facility to be able to make the complex connection details to extend the existing steel works up – with live classrooms underneath, health and safety was paramount,

• Logistical challenges included the single-access road which meant traffic management, access and egress had to be always overseen,

• Restrictions to the back end of the site,

• Having to create a natural extension and expansion zone within an already existing building footprint,

• The coronavirus pandemic hit mid-construction where the site had to close for three weeks to develop and introduce new safe working practices according to Government guidelines,

• As a result of this, priorities changed for the school and so the project team had to adapt quickly once they returned after covid. Hull Esteem rescheduled and reprogrammed areas accordingly to create covid-dependent areas and greater space to incorporate social distancing measures,

• Limited staff due to the pandemic meant that the environment needed to be much more controlled and reactive to any Government announcements.

The Results:

Kelvin Hall Academy now benefits from an additional 250 places, bringing the school’s capacity to 1,600, along with a new Autistic Spectrum Disorder Resource Base for 15 pupils (one of the first specialist bases in the city at the time of completion).

The two-storey extension has expanded existing dining facilities and provided a purpose built

ASD resource base for up to 15 students. The remodelling of the existing school converted two

existing classrooms into science labs on the ground floor, and a gas supply was installed to

the third science lab adjacent to improve learning resources for students.

The second-floor rooftop consists of a technology room, seven general classrooms and two ICT classrooms, with associated storage and enhanced breakout spaces.

All of this was achieved whilst maintaining operations to the existing school and associated facilities, testament to the communication and relationships built between all parties.

Despite the effects the pandemic had on wider school engagement, children of key workers were able to visit the site when it was safe to do so and took park in the decorating of the second floor.

On top of the crucial specialist hub that this extension has added to the school, the attention to detail and planning has meant that the original school’s design and external appearance has been matched seamlessly.