Innovative building helps Houghton Regis school to grow - with room for over 400 more students

A Houghton Regis primary school has been handed the keys to its new teaching block, in time for the new term next month.

By Lynn Hughes
Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 3:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 3:09 pm

The new block, built as part of Central Bedfordshire Council's New School Places Programme, will see Thornhill Primary school increase its capacity from 210 pupils to 630 to meet the future demand for new school places forecast with the emerging housing growth of Houghton Regis.

The teaching block will accommodate junior school year groups 2 to 6 up to a capacity of 450 pupils, while the existing school building will accommodate infant school year groups from nursery to year 1, with a total capacity of 180 pupils. There is also a nursery for 2–4-year-olds on the current site.

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The new building at Thornhill

Claire Bryan, Co-Chair of Thornhill Primary School Governors said: "We cannot wait to open up this outstanding space for students at Thornhill in September. Its forward-thinking design will allow us immeasurable opportunities for furthering the children’s’ awareness around environmental innovations, enriching their educational aspirations and providing boundless benefits to our growing community for future generations.”

The block is the first in Central Bedfordshire built to the highest sustainable standards using Passivhaus criteria to deliver a super energy-efficient building.

Arranged around a central playground, overlooked by circulation spaces and a new access deck, a deck wraps the entire two storey section of the building, providing valuable breakout space for smaller group learning, connecting teaching with the outside and the surrounding context.

At the heart of the school is a double height entrance atrium and split-level library, adjacent to the new sports/ dining hall, centralising the facilities, promoting active learning within a centralised hub.