£12m academy building complete and ready for students

Manchester Enterprise Academy

Durie Building, the £12m new-build extension project at Wythenshawe’s Manchester Enterprise Academy, is now complete.

Designed by Pozzoni Architecture, work on the three-storey development, which sits adjacent to the school’s existing building, started in September, 2016 and provides 43,000sq ft of new teaching facilities to accommodate the academy’s growing pupil numbers.

The new building is divided between nine English classrooms, with an additional nine state-of-the-art laboratories for the school’s science department, while the ground floor is home to a 260-seat auditorium.

Also housed in the Durie Building are two large drama studios, a specialist art and fashion department, a music room with practice rooms and new staff areas. Externally, year 7 students now have access to their own playground, with active climbing equipment, and the wider school site has benefitted from landscaping.

In keeping with the design of the existing building, the extension incorporates a brick podium with vibrant green and grey rainscreen cladding to match the current colour palette and break up the façade.

Pozzoni also carried out large scale refurbishment works to the school’s existing sports facilities including an extension to the changing rooms as well as the installation of a full-size artificial grass pitch with floodlighting for rugby and football. These facilities will be available for community use during evenings and weekends.

Planning for the extension began in February, 2016 with all works completed and ready for occupation by September, 2017.

Catherine Mulley, director at Pozzoni Architecture, said: “Twelve months on from securing planning permission for this project, it’s fantastic to see students and staff now using and enjoying the facilities in Durie Building.

“The Scape Framework was the procurement route selected for the project and that’s why, along with working in close collaboration with the school and wider team, we were able to meet the tight deadline and ensure the new building was up and running, ready for the new academic year.

“The design is intended to maximise space and allow movement between the two buildings to be as seamless as possible. We’re really proud of the end result – a high-quality new building that will accommodate the school’s ambitious growth plans over the years to come.”

Before the addition of the Durie Building, Manchester Enterprise Academy had a capacity of 750 spaces for pupils aged 11 to 16 and 80 spaces for students aged 16 to 18. The extension means the school can now look to enrol an additional 450 pupils by 2023.

James Eldon, principal at Manchester Enterprise Academy, said: “We faced hugely pressing timelines to deliver the project but this pressure has not compromised on the quality of the design and build we have achieved. The new teaching block combines excellent teaching spaces and well-designed professional hubs for teachers to collaborate and thrive.

“Our focus was creating light, spacious classrooms which facilitated excellent teaching and we are thrilled with the Durie Building and its calm, spacious environment. Our vision is ‘a fantastic future for all’ and Pozzoni has delivered the Trust an educational campus which creates huge potential in terms of delivering this ambition.”

Wilmott Dixon was the contractor on the project.