THE TRANSFORMATION of a historic listed building into Rugby’s newest secondary school has been named among the West Midlands’ most inspirational building projects of the last year.
Houlton School has won the Refurbishment/Revitalisation Project category in the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) 2022 regional awards.
The school, which opened its doors to 180 Year 7 pupils last September, comprises a £39m 20-acre campus including Grade II listed buildings that previously housed Rugby International Radio Station.
The historic Transmission Hall, which is now at the heart of the school campus, includes many of the building’s original features which have been restored to link the school to its heritage.
The building was the hub of global communications in the 1920s, and was the source of the world’s first transatlantic phone call in 1927.
Judges described the project as “an innovative scheme, demonstrating collaboration between private and public sectors and a focus on sustainability, which will benefit the school population and, to a degree, the wider community”.
They added: “The refurbishment and revitalisation of the listed Rugby Radio Station creates an entirely distinctive secondary school at the heart of the growing new community at Houlton.
“The school combines three state-of-the-art new blocks with the creative transformation and fabric upgrade of the listed buildings.
“The team has delivered an exemplary school on time and budget, despite the pandemic. It creates an outstanding community facility, celebrating the heritage significance of the historic Radio Station, and establishing an iconic building at the future heart of Houlton.”
Main contractor Morgan Sindall Construction inserted a new five-storey structure into the shell of the hall, where a pioneering tuning coil used to be located.
The former power hall, which was converted into an assembly hall and canteen, also retains original features.
The site also features purpose-built Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Humanities buildings, a Sport England-compliant Sports Centre, and a professional grade radio studio.
The redevelopment project was a joint venture between Houlton’s master developer Urban&Civic, Aviva Investors, Warwickshire County Council (WCC) and the Department for Education (DfE), and was led by vHH Architects.
The project will now compete in the national RICS Awards Grand Final, which takes place in October.
The RICS Awards showcase initiatives and developments in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure, recognising outstanding achievement, teamwork and companies. Visit https://tinyurl.com/bdfv7xvw for more information.