Congratulations to the Three Rivers Academy on the official opening celebration of their new school building on 26th June. The event, hosted by Head of School, Mrs Anne-Louise Payne, included a talk by guest of honour Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, space scientist and ‘The Sky at Night’ presenter.

MEA and our specialist school’s subsidiary Building Schools for Nothing (BSfN), worked with Three Rivers Academy (previously Rydens Enterprise School) in Hersham, to plan and deliver a complex strategy to provide a new school without direct funding from local or central government.

The project has provided a new 1,878 place (9FE) 11-18 secondary school adjacent to the redundant existing school buildings.

This new 15,000m2 state of the art school building opened its doors in February 2018 to staff and students. Designed by Scott Brownrigg, the high-quality, spacious accommodation, including the amazing sport, drama, dance and music facilities has been designed to inspire 21st century learning and allow students to continue to perform at the highest level.

The large classrooms lead from a central mall and are colour coded to faculty areas, they have high ceilings and panoramic views across either the playing fields or the front of the school. Many are dual aspect with large viewing panes to the central mall showcasing the learning. The Learning Resource Centre provides a welcoming space for the main school and a separate mezzanine floor for sixth form students to study. Meals are provided in a contemporary style café area with seating stretching down the mall.

In addition, the school facilities also include a 6-court sports hall, assembly hall, performance spaces including a studio theatre and drama workshops, together with a full-size 3G artificial pitch and a MUGA providing netball and tennis.

The project was self-funded from the sale of surplus land to Bewley Homes who are developing the disposal site with 296 dwellings. The development compiles with the local policy for affordable housing, providing 43% which have that designation.

The new school building has been entered for several building awards and is the only UK school to have made the shortlist for the final of the World Architecture Festival Awards in the completed schools category.

Commenting on the new building, Anne-Louise Payne Head of School at Three Rivers Academy says “We are thrilled with our new state-of-the-art school. Our vision was to create a world-class learning environment for our students, and the project team has achieved this with a building that is designed for students’ present and future needs, and that is very much not a standard specification building. This has resulted in a professional, safe accessible and inclusive environment for our staff, students and the wider community”.

MEA and BSfN are delighted to have worked with Three Rivers Academy delivering their new school so that thousands of local children can benefit from the new facilities over the coming years.

News coverage:

Your Local Guardian

Architects Journal

The Hersham Hub

Images copyright of Hundven Clements Photography