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25th Jun, 2022

Transformation of historic building into Houlton School shortlisted for national award

THE TRANSFORMATION of a historic listed building into Rugby’s newest secondary school has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

Houlton School is among 12 recent building projects in the West Midlands to have been shortlisted for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards 2022.

The school, which officially opened its doors to 180 Year 7 pupils last September, comprises a £39m 20-acre campus including Grade II listed buildings that previously housed Rugby International Radio Station.

The historic Transmission Hall, which is now at the heart of the school campus, includes many of the building’s original features which have been restored to link the school to its heritage.

The building was the hub of global communications in the 1920s, and was the source of the world’s first transatlantic phone call in 1927.

Main contractor Morgan Sindall Construction inserted a new five-storey structure into the shell of the hall, where a pioneering tuning coil used to be located.

The former power hall, which was converted into an assembly hall and canteen, also retains original features.

The site also features purpose-built Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Humanities buildings, a Sport England-compliant Sports Centre, and a professional grade radio studio.

The redevelopment project was a joint venture between Houlton’s master developer Urban&Civic, Aviva Investors, Warwickshire County Council (WCC) and the Department for Education (DfE), and was led by vHH Architects.

The RICS said: “Houlton School provides an enviable set of accessible community facilities, revitalising the listed Rugby Radio Station to create an entirely distinctive secondary school at the heart of Urban&Civic’s growing new community at Houlton.

“It combines three state-of-the-art new blocks with the creative transformation of the listed buildings. Led by vHH Architects, the design team has collaborated with the stakeholders and Morgan Sindall to open it on time and budget, despite the pandemic.

“It provides outstanding facilities, celebrating the heritage significance of the historic Radio Station, and establishing an iconic and approachable civic building at the future heart of Houlton.”

The project has been shortlisted in four of the award’s six categories – Community Benefit, Heritage, Public Sector, and Refurbishment/Revitalisation.

The shortlisted projects will be judged by an expert judging panel, with winners of the RICS West Midlands regional awards announced virtually in May.

Chair of the RICS Awards judging panel, Bryony Martin MRICS, said: “Despite much uncertainty and challenging conditions over the past couple of years, property professionals in the West Midlands continue to deliver exemplary, and in many cases, world-class built projects that are having a profoundly positive impact on our cities and towns.

“I wish the teams behind them all the best of luck in gaining recognition for their skills and hard work.”

The RICS Awards showcase the most inspirational initiatives and developments in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. They recognise outstanding achievement, teamwork and companies. Visit https://tinyurl.com/bdfv7xvw for more information.

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