Riley Sixth Form Centre, Bolton School
Pupils at Bolton School have returned to a stunning new sixth form centre this month, with work on the £7m building completed during the summer of 2013.
The impressive Riley Sixth Form Centre features a new common room, IT suite, café, multi-use study spaces and outdoor areas.
Designed by Cassidy + Ashton, the sixth form centre complements the existing Grade II listed buildings that make up the original parts of the school, and the new glass-fronted, three-storey building offers a stark contrast to the existing Neo-Gothic façade and turrets.
Providing independence to over 400 pupils, the new sixth form centre also brings together girls and boys for the first time outside the classroom, and although they will still be taught separately, the modern facilities combined in a central hub allow all pupils to study and socialise in a shared environment.
The central quadrangle, now pedestrianised and completely car-free, completes Lord Leverhulme’s original vision for the school based on the famous colleges of Oxford and Cambridge. Two-tiered glazed walkways link the sixth form centre to the Senior Girls’ Schools and Senior Boys’ Schools respectively.
Large windows within the building have created light and airy spaces inside with a view across landscaped outdoor areas, establishing a permanent link between the old and the new.
Sue Hincks, Girls’ Division Headmistress, said: “We are delighted with how the building has turned out, and we look forward to educating future generations of Bolton School students and those pupils who join us in the Sixth Form from other schools.
“This wonderful new facility provides students from both Divisions with a hub for social activities and study, allowing us to retain single-sex teaching whilst creating an environment in which boys and girls will learn and relax together. It provides the best of both worlds and the ideal platform for future university life.”
Lawrence McBurney, Cassidy + Ashton’s lead architect on the project, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Bolton School to create something so prominent at this already very striking school.
“The opportunity to introduce a new building within the main quadrangle, adding and complementing the setting of the listed buildings, has been a challenge but one that we think has created a unique and dramatic centrepiece for the school that will also form a lasting legacy.”
A substantial amount of funding for the building was provided by alumni of the School and is named after the campaign’s lead benefactor, Ian Riley, an Old Boy who was a pupil from 1974 until 1981. Its completion marks the fourth stage in a building programme that has seen the construction of a new Infant School, a new Junior Girls’ School and the refurbishment and extension of the Junior Boys’ School.