End of renovation works following the merger of two historic schools


Construction is now complete after an extensive renovation program resulting from the merger of two of the country’s oldest schools – Durham School and The Chorister School.

As of September 2021, Durham School and The Chorister School, which share a 600-year legacy, began operating under a single foundation known as the Durham Cathedral Schools Foundation.

Preparatory work began for award-winning architect Howarth Litchfield in the summer of 2020 when the firm was jointly appointed by Durham Cathedral and the Durham School to undertake building condition studies of the buildings of the Chorister school, which are a mixture of Grade I, Lists II and II * and to develop a schedule of the necessary works and repairs.

In June 2021, the company embarked on the necessary construction work to improve the learning environment for students with a dissertation to ensure that all construction work was completed and the newly renovated areas were ready. in time for the start of the new academic year.

Neil Turner, Director and Conservation Architect of Howarth Litchfield, said: “Due to a long term relationship with the Cathedral, which has grown over the years through the success of projects, and in particular by Due to our extensive conservation and old buildings’ knowledge, we have been appointed directly by Durham Cathedral to provide architectural, interior design and senior designer services for the necessary upgrades.

“These included the renovation of six existing rooms – the IT suite, a teaching room, the residents’ common room and the medical room. The completed work has improved the learning experience for students of all ages with updated facilities and is the first phase of improvement work with upgrades to other areas planned for the future.

Kieran McLaughlin, current principal of Durham School and first principal of the new foundation, said:

“The investment in the facilities allows us to offer a more dynamic boarding experience and, thanks to the merger, we have been able to combine the strengths of the two schools and build on the strong heritage and values ​​they have shared since. over 600 years.

“There are also many social benefits associated with a larger school community, such as the ability for more students to participate in competitive sports teams and greater opportunities to participate in musical and cultural events.

“I believe that the merged Foundation provides a strong and vibrant future for both schools with exceptional academic, pastoral and extracurricular opportunities for all students and will further enhance the provision of independent education within the City of Durham.”

Neil Turner continued, “In our role as lead designer, we were also involved in the appointment of Vest Construction to undertake the necessary construction work.

“Vest was chosen after a competitive bidding process from a shortlist of contractors of which five were invited to bid after initially showing interest. After scoring the bids 60:40 between cost and quality, Vest scored the highest of the four bids returned.

Maya Polenz, Real Estate Manager at Durham Cathedral, added: “We were delighted to work with Howarth Litchfield and Vest Construction on the necessary renovations as both companies have a full and in-depth understanding of working with historic buildings. The completion of the work now allows students from both schools to benefit from an enriched educational experience at all levels.

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