A purpose-built sports space at a prestigious Chelmsford school has brought a great deal of value to students, staff, and members of the local community since its completion in 2018.
You may well remember A.W. Hardy’s involvement in the construction of a new sports wing at King Edward VI Grammar School (KEGS), which is located just to the north of the city centre.
We worked closely with the architectural team at John Finch Partnership, the engineers at Burton Sweetlove, and the surveyors at Burr & Neve to devise a state-of-the-art two-storey development that included:
You can find further details on the project here.
We recently caught up with Leon Green, Director of PE & Games at KEGS, to find out how the development has shaped a more comprehensive curricular- and extra-curricular sports programme at the school – and benefited external end users, too.
How has the development of KEGS’ sports hall and its surrounding facilities benefited staff and students?
“The facilities in and around the sports hall have had a huge impact on the services and programmes we can provide for our students,” explains Leon.
“The hall has completely transformed our inter- and intra-school activities, allowing our students to train and compete in a greater variety of sports disciplines. We have been able to enrich our offering with badminton, basketball, cricket, 5 a side and table tennis, as well as dance and gymnastics activities that just would not have been viable options beforehand.”
Leon has seen first-hand the impact the facilities have had on sports take-up at KEGS.
“Having been at the school for more than 42 years, I can confidently say that more students are engaged in our sports department than ever. Badminton, basketball, and table tennis are particularly popular, and both students and teachers enjoy accessing the gym at lunchtimes and in their free time, under close supervision from fully trained PE staff, of course. Being able to exercise as frequently as they like according to their own schedule not only benefits their physical health but has a noticeably positive effect on their mental wellbeing.”
Since the hall was constructed around 5 years ago, KEGS has been able to not only maintain but improve upon its competitive position. Earlier in the year, for example, the school’s sixth form basketball team beat Great Baddow in the local under 18s final to become Essex basketball cup champions.
Due to the size of the hall, it has been used for a range of unrelated activities. From assemblies and exams to Covid tests and vaccinations, the space has hosted all kinds of events and initiatives – and the school continues to receive eager hire requests from external clubs and organisations.
“We are quite selective about who we bring into the hall,” Leon explains. “We do allow a few badminton and cricket clubs to make use of the facilities, and we’ve had an Essex U-side in recently to train. Stagecoach also makes great use of the hall during the summer holidays for its performing arts programmes.”
The development remains Leon’s home-from-home – and though there were some teething issues, as there are with every build, he and his team are satisfied with the end result and delighted that their investment has brought so many new opportunities to students, staff, and external users alike.
“We used to do well with the facilities we had – but now I can’t imagine the school without the hall and its surrounding spaces,” Leon says. “Thank you again to everyone involved in the project.”