Yesterday afternoon, a very productive site meeting took place at the Middle School site involving ES, our construction partner (Kier), the Salisbury Diocese (representing St Mark's) and DCC's Head of School Organisation, Jackie Groves. As a result, there is now detailed agreement on how the site is to be divided between the two schools and how the sports facilities are to be laid out for each.
The existing Middle School site will be divided more or less East / West, with each school having its own frontage along the High Street and completely separate entrances approximately 100m apart - the concept design shown here is a work in progress, but gives a good idea of how the site will look.
The Swanage School will occupy the eastern half of the site, with pedestrians entering at the corner of Washpond Lane and a vehicle entrance to a small car park (for staff and deliveries only) about one third of the way along Washpond Lane. A spacious entrance plaza will lead to the building, with the playground (including hard sports court) and a full-size FA standard U16 grass pitch beyond. The full-size (4 badminton court) sports hall and artificial turf 7-a-side pitch (aka. the "MUGA") will be sited to the north of the car park, where the current SMS netball courts sit. The remaining space around the new building and towards the back of the site will be used informally, providing external seating, an outdoor classroom and a garden area.
St Mark's will occupy the western half of the site, with their published building design entirely unaffected and retaining the existing playground. Two full-size FA standard U12 grass pitches will be created, one in front of the school building (dedicated for St Mark's use) and the other parallel with the existing driveway (which will be shared with The Swanage School). A fence, softened with screening planting, will separate the two school sites and provide a secure perimeter for St Mark's. Access gates will be included so that St Mark's pupils can easily make use of our sports hall and MUGA, and Swanage School classes can use the second St Mark's pitch.
This is another key step in the process, enabling the "red line drawing" that delineates the site boundary to be prepared for the lease agreement and for the building location to be locked down. We already have a very exciting initial design concept for The Swanage School's new building which will be developed and finalised for planning submission over the next 4 weeks. Happily, we have much greater design flexibility here than on the original, constrained SGS site which reduces the design compromises we need to make.
We're now very confident that the combination of The Swanage School and the new St Mark's will be impressive additions to the approach to town, standing together as testament to the vitality and ambition of Swanage as a thriving community.
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