Pond Meadow moved to its new buildings in Larch Avenue in November 2008. The new school provides a wonderful environment for learning providing light, airy spaces throughout. The building provides specialist rooms for Sensory Light and Sound, Soft Play, Hydro Therapy, Music and Drama, Food Technology and Art.
The school has been designed to provide separate Primary and Secondary provision within the same building, providing different educational experiences for 2-11 and 11-19. Classrooms in each phase of the school are centred around large internal courtyards linked to open plan ICT/Library/Sensory learning areas. The Primary and Secondary parts of the building are linked by a wonderfully huge corridor with a large glass wall linked to the central dining courtyard. Shared facilities, such as Hydro Therapy, are placed along this corridor.
The 'scale' of the building has been designed to change as you move from Nursery, through Primary and into Secondary so that pupils can enjoy a 'journey' through the building as they move up through the age phases. Classrooms have also been designed so that on each move of class, pupils experience a slightly different environment. Features of this are the placement of windows at different levels, providing different viewpoints for each pupil and the 'movement' of the roofline within the classrooms, some with clerestory windows others with dramatic changes of angle.
The windows and glazed panels around the school have coloured, abstract 'manifestations' applied to them so that, not only do they allow light to come flooding into the building, but they also provide a constantly changing pattern of coloured light throughout the school.
The building links to the outside play spaces and landscape through the glazed panels in each classroom and the cantilevered roof createss dry, wonderfully interesting, play areas.
The school has been built on a single level with no stairs and level door thresholds, it is fully fitted with hoists throughout the school, with wide corridors and large classroom spaces providing easy access for all pupils. There are an average of two toilets and one full hygiene/shower room with hoist for every two classrooms. Up lighting is used throughout the school to reduce glare, and acoustic tiling ensures that sounds are not echoing and distracting but clear and calming. The school halls are fitted with 'Soundfield' systems.
Building Design Online's article 'DSDHA's Pond Meadow School is a singular piece of architectural design', http://www.bdonline.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=3133933, provides more detailed information.