Bradfield Invests for the Future
Owen Adams, Bradfield’s Chief Operating Officer talks about the extensive projects underway and proposed around the College Campus. ‘Whilst the College may look like a building site in places over the next couple of years, this is a result of some significant planned investment across our estate. We have a Campus Development Framework (CDF) in place along with condition surveys for our whole estate. Armed with this information we are able to set out a proactive path for the years ahead to ensure that we not only make certain that our existing estate is maintained but also invest in transformational projects that will make a step change to the pupil experience. This short article will hopefully bring you up to date with a range of investments.’
There are four transformational projects recently completed or under way.
The Dining Hall
We completed the significant dining hall refurbishment just as we entered the first lockdown in 2020, so we recognise that very few people have had the chance to see this remarkable transformation of the servery and Dining Hall. The changes now achieve a blend of 21st Century facilities within a 19th Century Dining Hall – it is the most wonderful dining facility. This has been enhanced by the transition of our magnificent catering team in house, which gives them the freedom to use sustainable and local high-quality food. We really look forward to the time when you can experience the investment, and catering, in the Dining hall first-hand.
The College has made significant investments in IT infrastructure and technology over the past 18 months. Inevitably most of the investments, services and applications are invisible (which is right), but the ability to use devices ‘anytime anywhere’ with confidence has been remarkable. All the teaching staff have benefited from the provision of high-quality laptops, which enables them to connect to a range of systems wherever they are; the investment ahead of the first lockdown was timed superbly. For our pupils the investment in the infrastructure, wifi and learning tools has ensured that they too can connect to a range of educational platforms with confidence. Investment in IT is one of those areas that cannot stop to ensure that we have the quickest and most reliable systems, yet very mindful of the increasing frequency of cyber-attacks. We are always looking to innovate in line with our Digital Strategy, so the teaching staff, with the Digital Champions, work side by side with the IT team to ensure we are doing all we can to aid teaching and learning in the digital era.
The Music Hall
The transformation of the Music Hall into a modern performance space is an exciting project for the College. We have huge ambitions for investment in the Performing Arts in and around the Music Department and this is the first step upon that path. The significant investment includes new seating, new windows, improved temperature control, acoustic baffles and significantly enhanced audio-visual equipment, including a video wall. We hope that this will be open by the end of 2021.
st Andrew’s Church
This is one of the most exciting projects in the College’s history. We now have all permissions to proceed with the purchase of St Andrew’s Church which sits in the heart of the College. The transformation into a sympathetically altered learning space is very hard to bring to life in words, so we encourage you to follow developments on the website, shortly to be released.
The roofing on the Bloods building has been in poor condition for a number of years and we have now started work to address this issue; the scaffolding is already vast and growing daily. It is a tremendously challenging heritage project right in the heart of the College; the planning and logistical challenges have been vast and the disruptions unavoidable. However, we simply must tackle this to protect the building for the long term and for the safety of our community. Despite the costs and challenges the changes will be relatively minor internally with some classrooms and offices upgraded, but fundamentally it is a new roof for a significant part of our estate and give us long term security. We hope works will be complete by the end of 2021.
The, sadly, empty Houses through the year has given us the opportunity to tackle a range of issues including four substantial boiler replacements and other refurbishments. We have carried out condition surveys for all Boarding Houses and have a seven-year plan to provide proactive maintenance for all the Houses. The House on The Hill (HoH) was the most pressing and we had planned to refurbish the whole House in 2020, but Covid prevented us tackling this in one go, so there has been noticeable investment for the internals in 2020 and we will address the externals (roof, guttering, windows) this summer. We aim to be complete for September 2021.
All Weather Pitch Parking (AWP) and traffic
The parking in around the AWP and traffic flow around Faulkners has been on the ‘to do’ list for many years. This summer, we will formalise the parking in and around the AWP to provide an ecologically sound hard surface with marked bays and lighting. We will also adjust the traffic flow around this site to help improve access and egress. We aim to be complete for September 2021.
In 2022 we will recondition the offices in around the Bursary to meet regulatory standards. We aim to be complete for September 2022.
Pupil and staff safety is uppermost in our minds so we have carried out a range of investments to help protect our community. The most noticeable change has been the traffic flow in and around the crossroads: we have improved the pavements, sight lines, fencing and pinch points to help make this as safe as possible; recognising it remains a public road. We have also invested in a secure access system for all Boarding Houses, utilising the latest wristband technology, which ensures that the pupils have easy access but prevents unauthorised access. Whilst we have missed the pupils on site this has allowed to surge our efforts in a range of areas including a whole scale review, and subsequent works, to enhance fire safety.