Orchards Academy in Swanley set to be transformed with £32.8M rebuild project, new images reveal

New Images Revealed of Orchards Academy in St Mary’s Road as It Undergoes £32.8M Rebuild

Exciting new images have been unveiled of the highly anticipated £32.8 million rebuild of Orchards Academy in St Mary’s Road, Swanley. The project is currently underway and is set to transform the crumbling school into a state-of-the-art facility.

Construction work began in November 2020 and is expected to be completed by November 2026. The new Orchards Academy will have the capacity to accommodate up to 750 students and will feature modern classroom facilities, indoor sports provisions, and new external soft sports pitches. The project is being undertaken by BAM, a leading construction company, and will include integrated furniture and equipment to cater to diverse learning needs.

The new three-storey teaching building, along with a separate double-height sports and dining block, is set to open in October 2025. The building has been designed with improved thermal efficiency, ample natural light, and a green roof to reduce overheating and provide a home for natural habitats.

The project is being carried out in phases, including the installation of temporary buildings, demolition of initial structures, main construction, demolition of old buildings, and completion of external works and car parks.

Since work began, asbestos has been safely removed and two temporary teaching units have been installed. Daniel Brenchley, construction manager at BAM, expressed his excitement about the project, saying, “The Orchard Academy will meet the highest standards of quality and sustainability design, aligning perfectly with our own mission of building a sustainable tomorrow. The well thought out spaces and access to natural light will create an environment that supports learning and growth for all students. Once complete, the Academy will also become an integral part of the community, offering modern facilities for local sports teams, organizations, and the public.”

The Orchards Academy is one of 400 schools selected to receive funding as part of the government’s £1 billion program to replace aging and deteriorating school buildings. An analysis of the current building showed that it was not feasible to renovate due to the extent of the defects. Some parts of the building are currently supported by scaffolding to ensure the safety of staff, students, and visitors. The existing drainage system is also in poor condition, requiring constant monitoring and maintenance.

The decision to rebuild the school comes after a campaign launched by MP for Sevenoaks, Laura Trott, to secure funding for the project. Ms. Trott raised the issue in the House of Commons and held meetings with ministers to advocate for the school to be included in future funding allocations. A petition signed by 1,333 people was also presented in the chamber, calling for the school to be rebuilt.

The redevelopment of Orchards Academy is part of a major rebuilding program initiated by the government, with a focus on replacing aging and inadequate school buildings. Three other schools in Kent have also been selected for funding, including St Mary’s Primary in Deal, Pilgrim’s Way Primary in Canterbury, and Wrotham School in Wrotham.

The new Orchards Academy is set to be a modern and sustainable learning environment, providing the students of Swanley with the facilities they deserve. The project is expected to be completed by November 2026 and will undoubtedly be a source of pride for the local community.

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