Revamping a Campus
The Buckinghamshire Group of Colleges is an educational institute providing GCSE and A-Level education, as well as vocational programmes, practical studies and general further education. One of three sites in the group, the Aylesbury Campus provides a contemporary workspace for 3,800 students and includes a Life Skills Centre, a restaurant, deli and an extensive gym.
Earlier in the year, the campus identified three areas for refurbishment: their Learning Resource Centres and a suite of beauty rooms. After discussion with students and staff, designs were drawn up to align with the current and future needs of the college and education fit-out companies were invited to tender.
AXIS House was chosen as a result of our project understanding and outstanding track record of seamless project delivery within the education sector.
A 10-Week Transformation
Working to a 10 week deadline, we stripped out and re-fit the 12,000 sq ft space, creating two Learning Centres and the beauty rooms, installing custom joinery, fixtures, fittings and equipment to improve the students’ learning experience.
Working alongside the client, our team further developed the designs, upgrading some finishes and tweaking the design and furniture choices to optimise the space.
This included suggestions for different colour choices to give the space a more mature feel, and designing custom joinery, such as the wood around the stairwell, to bring extra textural elements to the space. AXIS House produced CGIs of the revised designs, and delivered the project, including the necessary upgrades to the HVAC and installing a smart lighting system.
An adaptable, “grown-up” learning space
The college wanted an adaptable space that could be changed to suit various learning experiences and events. For example, the library team run regular staff training sessions, so needed a layout configuration and furniture choices that would more easily facilitate this. Creating a space that was ‘not just a one-trick pony”.
Since the fit-out, the team hosted 60 staff on a training session and “it was no problem at all. We could have easily fit more in!”
Another key requirement was to create a space that would motivate students to come in and study responsibly. “The old space used to feel quite hard and cold, without any personality.” AXIS House recommended design elements to make the space feel more mature, preparing students for higher education. The college wanted them to feel like the space was theirs, to give them a sense of ownership and draw them into the learning experience.
“Students love how it feels when they come into the space and that it’s been done for them. It’s a real switch-up from the rest of the building. It feels safe, relaxed, more grown-up and we’re finding more of them are choosing to come in now. Drop-ins are up and we’ve seen an improvement in behaviour; they want to study in here.”
Carefully chosen specifications
To create a calm, welcoming atmosphere, cushion-backed carpeting looks fantastic and provides excellent acoustics. AXIS House also installed a smart, DALI lighting system that auto-adjusts brightness, depending on ambient light levels. This reduces harm from glare and prevents eye strain. Both these systems also helped the sustainability of the project, with the carpet being made from recycled bottles, and the lighting saving energy as it auto-dims.
AXIS House also oversaw the design and installation of custom joinery projects, including inbuilt banquette seating, a custom-designed computer bench to wrap around the building’s curved wall, a Corian reception desk, and benches around the pillars in the Learning Resource Centre.
In the student training beauty rooms, we stripped the rooms back to their shell, and then refitted them to the college specification. This included full redecoration, lighting, and custom curtain installation.
“From the principal down, we are very proud of what’s been achieved. The students have been so excited about the works and reaction from parents has been really good too. Feedback on the beauty studio from staff, students and paying customers has been amazing”
“We love the space, it’s got a real wow factor and students love it too. They were very excited to see how the space looked and really kept an eye on progress. Their reaction has been excellent… Everyone came in and said how amazing the space is and many have made a point of saying how calm and welcoming it is in here. The change has been dramatic. Staff and students and parents are all really impressed!”
Meeting deadlines with minimal disruption
As with all education fit-out projects, the project had to run during the school holidays, with the AXIS House team working around various exam sittings to minimise disruption. We conducted loud works when the college was closed, and worked hard to keep noise levels low during school hours. Lead times in the summer are typically a challenge, especially for school furniture and construction materials, but with meticulous planning and project delivery, the team managed key suppliers and contractors to keep the project on track and running smoothly. Running weekly design meetings with the college, the team made sure everything was approved and ordered in good time.
Education fit-out for Colleges and Schools
AXIS House is an education fit-out specialist. With a track record building in the delivery of beautifully tailored education spaces, our expert team will help bring your space to life. Contact us today to discuss your next project!
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