Victorian schoolhouse modernised with creative renovation

A Victorian school in Erdington has been given a new lease of life thanks to a successful modernisation scheme and extension. 

The challenging construction project at Osborne School has been designed by Tweedale Architects, based in Wolverhampton working with Acivico and Balfour Beatty. The scheme now provides the school with a large, two storey classroom extension. Meanwhile, the existing Victorian buildings were modernised through a series of alterations and renovation work. 

Architect, Norman Lowther, said: “Like most Victorian schools the Osborne School buildings have featured significantly in the lives of the local community, and with the recent refurbishment and extension will continue to serve their intended purpose.

The retention and upgrading of old school buildings to provide a modern teaching environment, while being sensitive to the character of the original structures and style was a major challenge.” 

Work that took place included replacing the windows and doors to reduce heat loss, and completely re-roofing the existing building in traditional single tiling. The roof also includes new insulation and breather membranes, which will protect the building from the elements and reduce heating costs significantly.” 

Norman added that all services within the building have been replaced to provide a well-lit, warm, bright and healthier teaching environment, with energy efficient fittings throughout and fully integrated IT networks. External ramps and level door thresholds have been incorporated to improve accessibility within the existing buildings, while the new extension includes a lift to make the whole site accessible. 

He said: “All the work took place in a sensitive manner and within a very constrained site, with particular attention being paid to reducing overlooking of adjacent properties and dealing with noise through open windows. Due to it being a phased development there was an early handover of some of the buildings, meaning the staff and pupils were able to enjoy some of the new facilities just after the first stages of the development process. They are now enjoying a school which will stand the test of time, and provide pupils with a warm, light and comfortable environment for many years to come.”