projectSunderland Academies

locationSunderland, UK


Desco delivered the MEP services design associated with the development of three new education facilities in the Sunderland area as part of Sunderland's £120m Building Schools for the Future programme. The projects involved transforming existing facilities to provide teaching and learning environments fit for the needs of the 21st century, through a combination of new build and major refurbishments.

With a particular focus on energy efficiency and sustainability issues our designs for the academies make maximum use of natural ventilation and daylighting to the teaching and learning spaces, including carbon-neutral biomass-fuelled boilers and solar thermal hot water pre-heating to minimise energy requirements.

The three schemes were:


Biddick School Sports College

The most recently completed project of the three comprised the major redevelopment of an existing secondary school to create state-of-the-art facilities for a new specialist sports academy.

The scheme has involved 85% rebuild of the existing school facility to provide some the most impressive sports and performing arts facilities in the country.

As well as teaching and learning spaces for all core curriculum subjects, sciences labs and arts studios, the project includes facilities for use by staff, students and the wider community such as conference and meeting facilities, an auditorium and extensive sporting facilities.


Red House Academy

This new build academy specialises in engineering. Its innovative design and sense of light and space makes the building friendly and welcoming. Classrooms vary in shape and size and a number of them can be adapted quickly for small or large groups. Each floor has space for learning and teaching specialist curriculum subjects, including high quality science laboratories, design technology, ICT and a specialist arts space.

The Academy also has a 120 seat hall which provides a large-scale learning environment and has high-tech video conference facilities to support its use as a community events venue.


Academy 360

The first of the three academies to open - Academy 360, won the Best BSF Academy award at the 2009 Partnerships for Schools Excellence in BSF Awards. The new build ‘all-through’ academy brings together two former schools – a primary school and a comprehensive school, caters for over 1000 students aged from 4 to 16 and includes classrooms and open space learning spaces, a state-of-the-art amphitheatre a large theatre for assemblies and performances with moveable seating, high-tech music facilities including recording and performance studios, a cyber café and indoor and outdoor sports, courts.

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