Construction of a new £3m Design Centre at King Edward VI High School for Girls has begun.
The new facility will support the Edgbaston school’s plans for the delivery of GCSE Design and Technology and GCSE Computing from September 2022. It will be joined to the existing Peter Bennett Centre, which will also be transformed to provide additional space for art, including an enhanced exhibition space and an art library.
Principal Kirsty von Malaisé joined representatives of main contractor Interclass and architects Pinnegar Hayward Design to mark the start of the build.
Mrs von Malaisé said: “Developing design skills and computing skills, including critical thinking and purposeful creativity, are vital components of innovation and complex problem solving. Girls’ schools have a particular role to play in supporting young people to develop such skills, ensuring equal access to a wide range of career opportunities: the new Design Centre will be an exciting addition to our site.”
Des O’Neill, Interclass managing director, said: “We are delighted to have secured this project with King Edward VI High School for Girls. Once complete, it will enable the school to continue to provide modern classroom and workshop facilities for their students and improve opportunities for learning. We have a strong track record of delivering high quality school facilities and will use our extensive experience and expertise in this sector to ensure the school’s operations can continue whilst we are on site.”
Oliver Homan, associate at Pinnegar Hayward Design, said: “We have enjoyed working closely alongside the school on this fast track, highly detailed project within the KEHS campus. Nestled within a conservation area and sitting alongside the historic estate of the KEHS buildings, this project aims to strike a delicate balance bringing in a contemporary design whilst still largely using complementary materials. All the while remaining fully inclusive, pursuing environmentally friendly technologies and creating an exciting space within to inspire the learners.”
While science-related degrees have long been popular choices for KEHS pupils, there is growing interest in engineering, design, maths and IT-related courses. Of the departing Upper Sixths in 2021, 31 are studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths) subjects, including five who are reading Computer Science.
Work on the new Design Centre is scheduled to last until summer 2022.