Main ContractorMorgan Sindall
ArchitectBurrel Foley Fischer
Structural EngineerPrice & Myers
LocationSherborne, North Dorset
The new Arts Centre required a recital hall with 350 fixed seats; conversion of the current music centre to create a new drama school; and a link building that joins music, drama and art facilities, providing an attractive display area and a multifunctional social space for a range of events, from guest speakers and exhibitions to social events.

About the Client

Sherborne Girls School is an independent day and boarding school in North Dorset. Attended by approximately 500 students, the school has been awarded a double ‘excellent’ rating by the Independent Schools Inspectorate Report and won ‘Best Public School of the Year’ at the Tatler Schools Awards (2018).

The Brief

The new Arts Centre required a recital hall with 350 fixed seats; conversion of the current music centre to create a new drama school; and a link building that joins music, drama and art facilities, providing an attractive display area and a multifunctional social space for a range of events, from guest speakers and exhibitions to social events.

New roads, paths and communal areas were also required, including the planting of trees to reinforce the campus feel of this 20-acre site.

The £6 million transformational project has been designed to benefit the school and wider Sherborne community. The Arts Centre is the final project in the school’s ‘Growing for the Future’ development programme and is driven by multiple needs and aspirations.

The Solution

Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) and Building Information Modelling (BIM) were crucial to the collaborative processes involved in this project. While DfMA was used as the foundation for concurrent engineering processes to simplify and fully optimise the structure in terms of budget, sustainability and performance, BIM played a vital role as most of the processes took place offsite.

Panel geometry and specifications were detailed through 3D modelling files, which passed through the teams involved in the specification, design and detailing stages. Manufacturing and machining of the panels were factory-produced to 100% accuracy, facilitating a perfect fit, minimising transport costs and onsite waste.

BIM ensured that project timescales were optimised, and problems relating to non-compliance and dimensional inaccuracies or clashes were minimised for fast and reliable installation. The discipline and collaborative working that these approaches facilitated met the needs of early design detailing co-ordination and three-dimensional design information.

As well as giving creative arts the facilities they deserve, this new centre is generating a welcoming hub at the heart of the school, adding to the sense of community and benefiting the daily lives of the girls, staff and the Sherborne community for generations to come.
Stephen Wingfield Digby
Chair of Governors
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