First stage of building work finished at Birmingham’s Victoria School

New facilities that will help disabled pupils be more independent have been created at a Birmingham school thanks to architects at Tweedale.

Youngsters at Victoria School and Specialist Arts College are now enjoying the new hygiene area, which has been created as part of extensive building work taking place at the Northfield school. The next phase of work is still taking place with construction firm Balfour Beatty to create five new classrooms, which are expected to be completed this summer.

Stavros Sotiriou, an architect with Wolverhampton-based Tweedale, said a number of features were added to help students be as independent as possible.

“For the new hygiene area we made sure there was enough space for students to get themselves in and out of the toilet cubicles, and to the sinks,” he said. “To ensure there was enough room we had to remove walls and totally change the layout of the area. Though there are now fewer toilets, we have put in additional benefits such as grab rails and height adjustable sinks. Children also have better privacy with separate areas for changing tables, as well as toilet cubicles that are large enough to have doors on them – something that wasn’t previously available to students. Extensive hoist facilities have also been provided.”

Stavros said current work taking place at the school involves building a single storey extension, which will be accessible to pupils with disabilities. “In the new extension five new classrooms are being built along with new hygiene rooms and there will also be a store room for each classroom. Because Victoria School is for pupils with special educational needs, there were additional requirements and regulations for the project.

“The building existing structure was strengthened as we took down some walls to make more space. We are expecting for the extension to be finished in the summer and so the children will be able to start using it after the summer holidays.”