Working with the architect Hunters, Kent-based Willmott Dixon, which has a local office in Dartford, has agreed a contract that will see it complete a range of new facilities by the start of term in September 2014. New features will include a high specification outdoor climbing wall, conference and performance space that can seat up to 300, a recording studio, a Sixth Form Centre, a Business, Economics and ICT area, ‘A' level Physics, Chemistry and Biology laboratories, plus new graphics and art suite. Also, an All Weather Pitch with the capacity to hold three five a side football pitches will open in August 2013.
Much of these facilities will be contained in a new three-storey building, while Willmott Dixon will also refurbish and convert a range of areas within the existing academy buildings to provide a dance studio and a fitness suite, while improving the history, geography and languages areas with a new suite of rooms. The result will be an academy providing state-of-the-art facilities for 1,550 students (including 350 in the sixth form).
John Waterman, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the southern Home Counties says: “We’re delighted to be working with Knole Academy and Kent County Council to expand and enrich the learning environment to benefit many thousands of young people for generations to come. As a company with a strong Kent base, we’ll be looking to work with local companies as much as possible to ensure we recycle the ’local pound’ and sustain hundreds of jobs during the work phase.”
Willmott Dixon Capital Works CEO John Frankiewicz says: “We are very proud to be working with a number of different schools across the country now – existing schools, academies, new Free Schools and University Technical Colleges. This track record of delivery enables us to improve our offer all of the time, working with the client, the school and local community to create places where young people can thrive and reach their full potential.”
Roger Gough, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Education said: "It was Kent County Council's vision to enhance facilities for the children and young people in the school that would also be of benefit to the local community. We have worked very closely with the Knole Academy and Willmott Dixon to make sure the extra buildings will create the best environment for learning. We look forward to seeing the new buildings begin to emerge."