Mark Henderson

18th December 2015

New Leeds School is a Leading Light

A new school in Leeds, that has been designed and built by a wide range of respected West Yorkshire companies, is already proving to be a huge success amongst pupils with Autistic Spectrum Condition and related communication conditions.

The Lighthouse School in Cookridge is now officially open following a £2.1m investment that has seen the Robert Arthington building, on the site of the former Cookridge Hospital, completely restored and redesigned to accommodate 50 pupils aged between 11 and 19.

The innovative school was designed by Brewster Bye Architects, Strategic Team Group was the project’s lead contractor, Turner & Townsend project managed it and Adept Civil and Structural Consulting Engineers provided structural and civil engineering services.

Katie Parlett, Chair of Trustees and Governors at Lighthouse School explains: “We first began exploring the Robert Arthington building’s potential about three years ago, when it was just a derelict shell, and we immediately knew it could become a wonderful home for the school.We were very fortunate to be guided through the whole construction process by a hugely experienced development team which has enabled us to translate our initial vision into a superb school that is specifically designed to suit our individual requirements.

“It’s fantastic to see the school up and running and it’s already making a significant difference to learning outcomes and student well being, due to all the specialist teaching areas that have been custom designed to match the vision and ethos of the school.”

Mark Henderson, a Director at Brewster Bye Architects, says: “Every aspect of this school was designed with its students in mind and we invited teachers to contribute to key rooms such as the science, well-being and food technology departments to ensure they are highly functional throughout.

“The building is in a conservation area so there were planning constraints,but throughout the project we strived to create a high quality space, full of natural light, which takes advantage of its south facing aspect and maximises the building’s potential, whilst remaining true to its heritage.”

Richard Parker, a Director at Adept, adds: “This building had sat empty for many years so it was in really bad condition, which made it a challenging project from an engineering perspective. However, it immediately became apparent that we were creating something very special which reinforced the decision to restore the existing building because it offers so much character and an endless range of features that all contribute to what the school offers its students.”

Lighthouse School first opened in Leeds in September 2012 in temporary premises. The new building covers a ground floor footprint of 1,525 square metres height classrooms, a speech and language teaching room, an enterprise suite, therapy and fitness areas. It also has areas for food technology, drama, science, DT, ICT, vocations and arts facilities. The first floor has a dedicated sixth form area as well as an area for teaching life-skills. The top floor acts as a training area and a hub for the charity. Outside there is space for outside dining, a cycle track, outdoor fitness suite, sensory garden, horticulture area and a multi-use games area.