St John’s VC CE Primary School

Redland, Bristol
Bristol City Council
1,478sqm (846sqm new build, 632sqm refurbishment)

Police station finds new use as school

The City of Bristol is facing a shortage of primary school places, particularly in Redland, where this project is located. As a response, a police station, which had recently closed, was selected for an extension to the school, which would provide 210 extra places, increasing the school roll from 315 to 525. We were appointed by Skanska as architect and lead consultant as part of its framework agreement with Bristol City Council.

Being 500m from the original school, which remains in operation, the extension was required to be self-contained – in some respects a stand-alone school to operate as a lower school annex. The brief included the provision of eight new classrooms, a new multi-use hall, kitchens, administration areas and a learning resource centre. We retained the buildings to the front of the site as they were considered a heritage asset within the conservation area, while those to the rear were cleared to make space for the new facilities, a covered play area and external teaching spaces.

The custody cells are now the learning resource centre, with one cell retained as a quiet reading space supporting a legible sense of the history of the building. Access to the new classrooms is via the new internal, multi-use hall. Kitchens are located to the north end of the building, with service deliveries via a separate entrance to the north east of the site. Between the existing and new build areas, a central stair core and lift has been located to link the different spaces and levels to allow a seamless transition between old and new.

We are delighted with the school –the retained police station and new extension feel like one school internally and the circulation around the building links all the levels across the site very well.  The library is particularly popular, being housed in the old police cells, with a reading area arranged in one of the cells and the old glazed bricks and arched ceilings being kept.

Mr. Justin Hoye, Head teacher