SWS Case Studies

Bideford College, Bideford, Devon

This new 18,000m2 college caters for 1,800 students aged 11 to 18, and was constructed on the playing field of the existing school.

Phase 2, was completed in July 2011, and involved the demolition of all but one of the existing school buildings. In their place, three multi-use games areas will be constructed, along with a new artificial turf pitch on reclaimed land. The one remaining original building was converted into the sixth form centre.


The college has been designed to maximise its flexibility of use, now and throughout its entire lifespan. Teaching spaces of varying sizes can be flexibly combined for different purposes. Digital displays provide a means of instantly changing the ambience of particular spaces. Large internal and external spaces allow the campus to be used for year or house groupings, for both social and educational purposes. The facilities are available for community use outside school hours for purposes including adult learning, social activities, and leisure use.

Notable features include a sports hall with tiered 'bleacher' seating for up to 440 spectators. Its six badminton courts are in accordance with Badminton England design guidance. The college also has a theatre/cinema, a dance studio, a drama studio, music rooms, and a science theatre. There is also a large winter garden space for indoor circulation, which can also be used for additional dining, social and educational functions.

The college has achieved a BREEAM sustainability rating of 'Excellent', due to design features that include:

A biomass heating system with the boilers fuelled by wood chips.
The teaching wings are heated using solar gain, within south-facing sun access spaces.
Natural 'passive' ventilation, controlled by an energy management system. The windows open and close automatically, according to data from CO2 and temperature sensors in each room.
Good natural day lighting is supplemented with auto-dimming high frequency triphosphor tube lights. Occupancy sensors switch the lights off when not needed.
A vertical axis wind turbine (due for completion in phase 2). This will be used to demonstrate renewable energy sources as part of the teaching curriculum, and will also offset the energy consumption of the scheme.
The frames for the windows and curtain walling are manufactured from 100% recycled aluminium. Other materials have been specified with consideration to their sustainability credentials and life-cycle costs.
Sedum 'green' roof to slow rain water run-off rate, absorb carbon dioxide, and create a natural habitat for wildlife.

Surface water run-off from the roof and hard surfaces is managed at ground level by a sustainable urban drainage system (SUDS). This provides a source of water for flushing the college's WCs, as well as providing a valuable learning resource for the pupils.


SWS had to be provide a tough heavy duty door furniture solution, so after deliberation a schedule was created which featured Kärcher grade 4 (serve duty) lever handles, Dorma door closers with back check, and Union lock cases. A large new master key suite had to be co-ordinated to allow various levels of authorised users, up to a grand master key holder.

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