Woodlands Meed College rebuild

Project updates on rebuilding the college.

Latest and background

Updated: 17 February, 2022

Latest news:

The major project to build a new college at Woodlands Meed for the benefit of 100 children with special needs is progressing at pace.
Work on site at the Burgess Hill college began at the end of last year. The contractor ISG has now completed the sheet piling work and the equipment has left the site.
Storm drainage works have begun which will safely control the run off of surface water from the new college. The groundwork is continuing to prepare the site ahead of the main construction commencing in the summer.

Read the February 2022 update in full.

ISG has set up a project webpage and will be providing updates on the construction of the new college: www.buildingwoodlandsmeed.com

Background

West Sussex County Council has allocated £21.6million to a major project to rebuild Woodlands Meed College.

The new facilities will significantly improve facilities for pupils who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) at the Burgess Hill college.

Independent surveys carried out last year showed that the current buildings are safe, but the facilities need to be upgraded and more space is required for the college’s 100 pupils.

Planning permission has been granted to create the new building on the college playing field. The County Council has worked with an architect with extensive experience of designing SEND schools to design a new building which will:

  • include 12 new classrooms and specialist areas for design and technology, music, science and food technology
  • meet all the required school building regulations (known as BB104)
  • provide students with significantly more internal space
  • include high quality sporting facilities including all weather pitches, and a 2-court sports hall and accessible changing facilities
  • include a new dining hall and kitchen, a common room and a range of therapy spaces along with personal care facilities, staff offices and welfare areas
  • have a new hydrotherapy pool
  • have a host of new outside learning and play areas including classrooms, an outside gym, planting areas, and courtyard and amphitheatre space
  • be more suitable for pupils who have mobility issues
  • have optimum comfort levels for students and staff, the design carefully considered around ventilation, cooling and heating systems
  • have solar panels on the roof making the facilities energy efficient and reduce energy costs for the college.

Great care has been taken to ensure the building work will create minimum disruption for students of Woodlands Meed, who will continue to learn on the site, and students at the neighbouring Birchwood Grove Primary School.

West Sussex County Council has been in discussion with the College over many months to incorporate many of the College’s requirements into its final plan.

Families have been informed about the latest proposals at two virtual engagement events this week (November 2 and 3, 2021)

You can see the exciting plans in our presentation and short video below:


Current position

October 2021

An additional £1.6million has been earmarked to progress to the next stage of the Woodlands Meed College new-build project, which will improve facilities for pupils with special educational needs.

West Sussex County Council has a plan in place to start delivering the works and is ready to move forward with the project, the new funds adding to the £20million previously allocated.

A full update will be published under News items below shortly. 

September 2021

The County Council continues to commit significant resources, approximately £2m to date, and considerable time to this £20m project to rebuild Woodlands Meed College.

The RIBA Stage 4 design has been approved by the council and Woodlands Meed College with the RIBA Stage 4 Report due for completion 27 September 2021 as per the programme.

The project board scheduled for the 21 September was postponed pending the outcome of discussions on key documents with the College. The development agreement is still in negotiation and completion of this document is an absolute priority, as this must be resolved to enable the project to progress.

The collateral warranties are still to be agreed and these are intrinsic to the completion of the development agreement. When these have been agreed with the College, the project board will be reconvened.

Until the development agreement and collateral warranties are agreed with the College, the County Council are unable to appoint the contractor for the construction phases of this school, as both these documents affect the content of the building contract.

The logistics of building this school whilst both Woodlands Meed College and Birchwood Grove Primary are occupied is being reviewed to establish the programme going forward, so that it will have minimal impact on the operational aspects of the school.

August 2021

West Sussex County Council is committed to supporting every child and young person in West Sussex with special educational needs and disabilities, particularly at a time when COVID-19 is creating additional challenges for these children.

The £20 million project to rebuild Woodlands Meed College is a major part of that commitment and will provide new facilities that better meet the needs of its pupils and benefit teachers and staff.

However, there continues to be a number of complex technical and legal issues to resolve.

Discussions are ongoing about the Development Agreement, which needs to be signed by all parties before the contractor can be formally appointed. Unfortunately, this has caused a delay to the start of the enabling works on the college site. These were due to begin shortly and will now not take place over the summer period as planned.

We continue to engage with the college, who are the freeholders of the site, to reach a position where both parties can agree the Development Agreement to allow the work to start at the earliest opportunity.

In anticipation of these matters being resolved shortly, the County Council’s delivery team continues to progress this important project at its cost, with the focus of completing the building in spring 2023, in line with our original programme.

We remain fully committed to this important project and will update all parties when we are able to confirm when the work can start.


News items


Videos

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Background

Claire Barton, architect and partner of Haverstock provides some background information about the project.

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