New £25m academy building. Steel framed, with precast concrete slabs and a dramatic central staircase.

Bedford Academy is a co-educational comprehensive academy with a science and technology specialism and 1440 students. 

Eckersley O’Callaghan provided structural engineering services for the new 12,000m2 building. The academy was constructed on part of the playing fields of the existing John Bunyan School, which continued to operate before re-opening as Bedford Academy when the first phase of the development was completed in October 2012. 

Workshops throughout the design and construction process ensured the project did not deviate from the agreed brief and cost plan. This involved regular feedback from the contractor’s supply chain.

The structure comprises a three-storey steel frame, with precast concrete floor slabs acting compositely with the steel support beams. The central circulation hub features a dramatic single flight stair running up through it. The uppermost classroom block is glazed to take advantage of views across the playing fields. It overhangs the lower part of the block, supported on raking columns. 

The final phase of construction, completed in spring 2013, involved demolition of the old school buildings, and new landscaping, car parking and sports facilities. 

Bedford, UK

Willmott Dixon

Bond Bryan