Based between London and Cambridge, the co-educational day and boarding school recently completed phase one of dormitory refurbishments to Grimwade House, the Prep School boarding house which caters for girls and boys aged between 7 and 13 years of age.
We worked closely with the College, through the tendering process, to understand their requirements before embarking on creating a detailed plan of works and design.
“I was particularly impressed with the fact they listened to our requirements carefully before planning. They didn’t try to tell us what would work, they adapted our views into a workable design and we were provided with ‘mood’ boards which helped project the vision to others.” commented Adrian Hathaway, Grimwade Boarding Housemaster and Senior Teacher (Operations) in the Prep School.
We designed a ‘pod bed’ which includes everything for each pupil: the normal bed, a headboard and wardrobe unit with shelving and a lockable cupboard for valuables. Power, a USB socket and LED reading lights were also part of the headboard design.
We manufactured and installed 28 ‘pod beds’ for the two dorms – 14 for the girls and 14 for the boys.
The beds are divided with bed division panels to give pupils more privacy and integrated into these panels were vinyl wrapped noticeboards for the children to attach photos of family and friends.
We used vinyl so the children can attach the pictures with Blu Tac without causing damage and to eliminate the use of drawing pins by the beds.
The furniture was manufactured in oak veneered MDF to strike the right balance between traditional, in keeping with the ‘Arts and Crafts’ boarding house but also modern in keeping with the demands of today’s boarding pupils.
Due to the age of the House (100 years+), it was essential we considered the heating and electrical systems already in situ which resulted in the electrical system being reconfigured in order to facilitate the new arrangement of beds.
“Storage was our main priority, followed by maintaining personal space with scope for pupils personalise their own area. Thinking to the future we also needed suitable electrical power to each bed space for charging purposes.”
Knowing that the new style beds needed greater storage capacity and would therefore be bigger, caused a few early design concerns. We wanted to make the dorms aesthetically pleasing whilst retaining maximum occupancy.
“The fitters who came in the summer were excellent! They were professional, treated the boarding house like it was a home and kept us informed of their progress.
“There were some complications in fitting the units around existing pipework, but this was completed to a high level of satisfaction. The length of one of the units when fitted in place caused an access issue but this was quickly resolved by the fitters with a slight alteration. Everywhere was left tidy and clean when they left – it was a very slick and professional job.
“The time and care Witley Jones were prepared to give to us in order to get the best possible configuration for our requirements was exceptional. The fitters’ humour was refreshing, they were keen and dedicated to ensure the job was finished to the highest of standards.” commented Adrian Hathaway.
We look forward to completing Phase 2 of the dormitory refurbishments in 2020.