A complete new school building for Stowmarket High School

rainbow web

Our time lapse camera caught this fantastic rainbow over the partly-constructed frame on 18th March 2019


Update - 08/10/2019

General progress is still good, it’s still just ahead of programme and we’re still on target to be ‘handed the keys’ on 9th April.

The works to the 6th form block was completed early September and has been handed over to the school. The new toilets are in use, but the office/stores are currently still not in use as these will need further works as part of the final separation from the main block (stand-alone heating system etc).

6th form toilets 6th form office

Above are the new 6th form block refurbished areas. The office door is typical of the New Build, with the vertical vision panel which will be in all offices and classooms. Also above are the new accessible toilets and water fountain

In the new build, externally the brickwork is completed and the insulation is competed to over half the building, followed right behind by the base-coat render. All the windows/glazing is in, apart from the loading-bays and around the stairs, which are in the process of being installed currently, and the roof is fully complete and watertight

render  insulation and render 

The first image above shows the Western side facing the Gipping Valley Centre. The brickwork is complete as is the insulation and base coat of render. The vertical section in the middle is where the stairs are and this will be fully glazed. The corner nearest the camera on the ground floor is Lilies, and glazing is now going in here. The second image shows the Eastern side/main approach, the insulation is being installed followed by the render (the scissor-lift is positioned at another staircase, which will again be fully glazed)

Internally almost all walls are in place and the plastering of these is progressing well, the remaining areas are primarily the stairwells and service ducts. Decoration has started to many walls, and a good start has been made on the installation of door frames/doors.

The ‘first fix’ of the mechanical and electrical services is well underway, which involves the installation of the water, heating and electrical services across the building. Lilies kitchen has also started to be fitted out, with the installation of the air handling/extraction and all associated services.

workroomatrium corridor

The first image is a 2nd floor atrium walkway (taken near the student unisex toilets) – you can see the services being installed in the ceiling above the corridor. The second image shows a typical multi-person office, with colour-coded door (to aid wayfinding) and glazed vertical vision panel

Below are some additional general impressions of how the new building will look:




main hall





Update - 24/07/2019

Progress is still good and we’re still slightly ahead of schedule, which is a great position to be in.

The external framing and CP board cladding is now complete around the new building, and all of the windows are in, including the louvres (with the exception of the materials delivery points). The screeding/underfloor is complete in all areas (apart from the Activity Studio which will have a sprung wooden floor added nearer hand over)

The roof works are also now complete, including the staircase, which means that the envelope of the building is principally watertight.

One main priority now is the internal walls which have now been started and are already half of these are up, and the jointing and plastering of these will commence in a couple of weeks behind.

In terms of Mechanical and Electrical works, the symphonic rainwater system is already in place, and works have started installing the ventilation, heating an electrical infrastructure (‘first fix’).

Externally, the ground-floor brickwork has already started, with the North-East elevation complete and well underway on the Northern elevation. Shortly the external rendering will also start and will follow the brickies around the building over the summer.

south westbrickwork

The first image above shows the view from the south-west. By the dumper truck on the left is at the student exit from the main atrium, near the camera you can see the stairs (with fire exit below), and then nearest the camera
(the large opening) is Lilies, which will be glazed. The second image shows the brickwork commencing, which will wrap the building at ground floor level.

Externally, the large foul water tank is now in place completely covered over, and the massive attenuation tank is also in place and completely encased  – this temporarily holds rainwater prior to it’s controlled release into the main drains in Onehouse Road.

water tanks coveredmain hall

The first image above shows where the waste water and rainwater tanks have been installed underground and are now fully covered over. The right image shows the front of the main hall (where the curtains will be), 
with the photo taken from the left-hand entrance door. The walls don’t yet go full height but once the second floor walls are in this will be fully enclosed.

Works have also now started on the 6th form block, and these are progressing well and will continue over the summer holidays ready for us to use again for September.
Primarily these involve creating a new office, store and toilets, and replacing the current water/electricity supplies with new feeds (independent of the current buildings).
There will also be a data/comms trench dug all the way from this block, round to the New Build (for network data and intruder/fire alarms)
These works are to prepare this block to be independent from the current school, so that when demolition works commence next May/June, this block can continue to be fully functional.

design proposal atrium smallatrium

The image above shows the design proposal and on the second image shows as it currently is. You can see the open stairs and walkways (which will have glazed balaustrades). Currently this area is being used to store vast amounts of plasterboard! To the left of these images is the
large student exit from the atrium onto the field.

corridor activity studio

The first image shows corridor walls staring to go up. The second image is the Activity Studio - this will have a wood-sprung floor and is the last to be installed, and in the meantime it will be used for building materials storage. The doorway on the left leads to the changing rooms, and the doorway to the right is the PE store.



Update - 15/05/2019

The project is on schedule and we are really pleased with progress.

The steel frame structure is completely in place, and now the full size and scale of the new building can be seen.

The pre-cast concrete flooring planks and stairs have now been installed across the whole structure, and the concrete ground floor slab to the first section has been poured, with the section section due to be poured this week.

Roofing works, insulation and parapet capping work to the first section are completed and these have started on the second section.

The installation of the steel frame system (SFS), which covers the outside of the building is progressing, and the installation of the insulation and vertical boards is underway.

The large foul-water pump chamber has now been installed and works have now started to excavate in preparation for the attenuation chamber. This is a large 'tank' which holds the rainwater, prior to slow release into the sewage system.

Work has now commenced on the base for the new electricity sub-station, and connections to this are planned to commence during the May holidays.

 foul tank

The large foul water pump chamber waiting whilst it's final location is excavated (in the foreground)


sfs installation

The SFS and board being installed on the outside of the structure (section 1)


roofing works

The insulation being installed on the roof of section 1 (this was taken before the parapet detail was completed)


first floor

The grouted flooring planks (this is the first floor of section 1)


activity studio

The poured ground floor slab - this is the activity studio, looking towards Design technology


atruim stairs

The pre-cast stairs in the central atrium space


internal partition layout 

While the remaining  section of the ground floor is being poured, and the external steel frame system is being installed on the outside of the building, internally works have started to set out the internal room partitions 


Update - 12/03/2019

Works are progressing well and are on schedule.
The pre-cast floors have been dropped in place in the first section, and the steel frame which forms the second 'wing' of the new building is now going up. Drainage works have also taken place on the edge of the site, where the new drains link into the Anglian Water drains in Onehouse Road. 

 steel phase2

The steel frame in the second 'half' of the new building being installed



Drainage works connecting the new waste water to the existing main sewers in Onehouse Road  


floor slabs

Precast floor beams are lowered into place by crane - this is the first floor, prior to the roof being dropped in



Update - 16/01/2019

After a short Christmas break, works restarted in earnest, and the steel frame started to arrive. Then the steel construction phase began and the frame quickly began to go up. This is a significant part of the program and very quickly starts to reveal the size and layout of the building..

steel website

Steel works arrive on site and await to be fixed in place

frame1 web

The steel framework starts to be connected together. This is done in two phases with the Northern section completed first, to be followed by the Southern section

frame large web


Update - 21/12/2018

Works are progressing well and are on schedule. In time for the Christmas break, the groundworks are complete and the foundations are now in place, ready for the next key phase - the steel frame.

ready for steel

The site groundworks are now complete and ready to accept the steel framework to arrive on site, and to begin to be erected


The foundations are now all poured and ready to receive the steel supporting structure


The steel 'frame' has been build off-site and will be start to be brought to the site when we return in January. These will then be erected in sections, and very quickly the shape of the main structure will start to be revealed. 



Update - 10/12/2018

So after the first eight weeks of the new build process the project is progressing well.

The initial site set-up was started during October half term, and completed in the following few weeks (site perimeter fences, temporary services, contractor vehicle routes/parking, site offices/welfare facilities etc).

Very quickly, the groundwork teams were on site levelling and preparing the site for the drainage and foundations. 

Next the steel reinforced concrete foundations were prepared and poured along with the underground drainage.   


Setting up the site boundary

Setting up of the perimeter fencing to ensure safe segregation of the construction site and operation school

Temporary accomodation and site setup

The temporary accommodation can be seen in the distance, with the road/work area for construction vehicles in the foreground


Top soil stripped and saved for later use

The top soil was stripped and is saved for later use. It will be used to form new grass areas once the existing buildings are demolished

Steel reinforced cages, filled with concrete

Steel reinforced 'cages' are constructed on site, and filled with concrete, to form the foundations and base on which the steel frame will sit



We are delighted to confirm that the we were granted full Planning Permission by Mid Suffolk District Council, for our new school buildings for Stowmarket High School, following our public & stakeholder consultation which took place on 8th May,

This follows on from our successful in our bid to replace the majority of our school buildings under the Government's 'Priority Schools Building Programme' (PSBP2), and we have been working closely with the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), the architects, contractors and design consultants to develop the plans for this exiting new development.


Project programming

Work started on site during the October half term 2018, with phase one due to complete around Easter 2020, when we hope to be able to move into the new building. The second phase is the demolition of the existing building, followed by the landscaping of this area, which should be completed around the summer holidays 2020.


Site layout

The works will involve constructing a three-story new school building on the current school field, which means that it's construction can take place with the minimum of disruption or risk to the students, teachers or visitors to the school. Once the construction phase is completed we will relocate the furniture, fittings and equipment into the new building, and then the majority of the existing buildings will be demolished. Again, with a clear separation between the two elements, the demolition (and subsequent landscaping), can take place with the minimum possible disruption to the day-to-day operation of the school and to the local community.

The current sixth-form block is to be retained as this is a more recent building, and the main entrance routes for vehicles, buses and pedestrians/cyclists will remain the same as currently.  

design proposal dining

The double-aspect dining area, overlooking the school playing fields

design proposal arial view

Arial view showing the new building and main pathways



If you would like to discuss any aspect of the new school or the plans, please do not hesitate to contact Ian Lipman, Project Manager - ianl@stowmarkethigh.suffolk.sch.uk or 07715 961 422