New Civitas School Building Scoops Top Industry Award

Civitas Academy

A NEW primary school built as part of Reading Borough Council’s £61m school expansion programme has won a top regional award.

The Civitas Academy project received the Community Benefit award at the RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) awards ceremony held in Southampton on 17th May.

The £8.3m school building project in Great Knollys Street incorporates a modern new community centre for local residents.

The Community Benefit award recognises excellent achievement in providing a facility which directly benefits the local community and illustrates its success through local community feedback.

Reading worked with architects from Hampshire County Council and developer Balfour Beatty on the ingenious design and layout of the school and community centre which was very much shaped by the tightness of the site.

The former run-down industrial site was transformed into an attractive modern school with a capacity for 420 pupils.

It contains a sheltered courtyard and a school hall which can be opened up to the adjoining community hall to provide large public space outside of school hours. The new Fairview Community Centre has much improved facilities and its own independent access.

Various consultations were held during the design phases of the project and local public support throughout the project was positive.

The first pupils moved into the two-form entry school, run by REAch2 Academy Trust, in November 2016 and the official opening ceremony was held in February.

Councillor Tony Jones, Lead Member for Education, said:

“Congratulations to everyone involved in the Civitas building project for winning this well-deserved award.

“When I attended the opening in February I was impressed by the style and quality of the building and by how much the pupils and staff enjoyed being in their wonderful new school.

“This award also recognises the great benefit local residents have gained from this investment with a modern new community centre.”

The opening of the Civitas Academy marked the completion of Reading Borough Council’s school expansion project which created 2,520 additional primary school places.

David Millward

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