Artist’s vision of next generation for Spires

The Oxford Times

THIS artists’ impression offers the first glimpse of proposed state-of-the-art buildings at Oxford Spires.

The £8.2m Reuben Business Centre will house ICT suites, a laboratory, sixth-form centre and a 330-seat lecture theatre on the East Oxford site.

The scheme has been designed by Harwell-based Nightingale Associates, and will be built by Kier Construction, based in Newbury, Berkshire.

Tom Groves, from Nightingale Associates, said: “The school wanted the new building to showcase their business and ICT specialism and create a high-quality voltage to their site.

Our design is a simple and elegant solution using appropriate external finishes providing an atrium animated by ICT break-out facilities and graphics.”

The project is being funded with cash given to the school when it relaunched as an academy last year, along with a donation from The Reuben Foundation, the charitable arm of the Reuben Brothers’ real estate company.

As well as the new three-storey secondary school building, the project also includes an extensive refurbishment around the existing school including humanities and English classrooms, an art gallery and house bases.

And the plans have won the support of Oxfordshire County Council education chief Melinda Tilley.

The cabinet member for education said: “The refurbishment and new building works at the Oxford Spires Academy will really benefit the existing school and provide pupils with excellent up-to-date facilities.

“I am delighted the academy will be using its status to maximise its potential and I wholeheartedly support it as it strives to become an outstanding school.”

The scheme also has the full backing of the academy’s sponsor, the CfBT Education Trust, which selected Nightingale and Kier for the design and build.

CfBT’s head of property services Chris Austin said: “CfBT Schools Trust is pleased to have appointed Nightingale and Kier as part of a ‘batch’ to work on projects relating to our free school and academy portfolio.

“We are looking forward to working with them on the works at Oxford Spires to create innovative education spaces that will see our students thrive.” After some internal works during the summer break, and subject to planning approval, the main building will start in October and should be ready for students next September.