Project Description

Stanton Harcourt Primary School – Extending & redesigning the existing space

Stanton Harcourt Primary School was built from an award-winning design in the 1970s but the design, although architecturally inspired, was not suitable for a school or a teaching environment with pillars obstructing views in classrooms and no school hall or large communal space for assemblies or gym class.

The academy wanted to relocate the early years class into an adjacent building to the main school and make that space their school hall as well as build a link between the main school and additional classrooms. In addition, they wanted to add two new classrooms to the front of the existing school which would be a simple timber frame building with straightforward strip foundations.

The biggest issue when making alterations to the existing classrooms, to remove the columns and add the extension was the lack of information, there were no as-built records or drawings. We investigated, by crawling through the ceiling to see how it was all put together and how we could safely remove columns without using a lot of heavy steels.


Project Team

Client: Stanton Harcourt Primary School

Contractor: Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust

Unfortunately, there was no way around it as the front half of the classroom is a massive high space with the back of the classroom being a lot lower and the column was there to prop up the glue laminated beam. We needed to work out how to remove the column and install the steel without losing height – as it was already the lowest part of the room.  

We were able to achieve this and get the steel in without losing any height, but it meant that there was a lot of sequencing work to do to ensure everything ran smoothly and safely. Our success on this project was because of the physical investigations we completed initially. Without drawings, we had to work out how the building had been put together ourselves and what was needed to safely remove this column.  

If you are planning a significant extension to your school or interested in a conversation about value engineering and existing designs give us a call on 01993 225085 or email to discuss your project.