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Danes Hill School

Oxshott, Surrey

Contract Value

£3.5 million

Contract Admnistrator

Sawyer & Fisher


Hox Architects

Contract Duration

63 weeks



Project Description

Danes Hill School is one of the leading co-educational day preparatory schools in the country for 3-13-year olds, based in Oxshott Surrey. As the preeminent, independent prep-school in the UK, the school has been undertaking an array of Capital Projects to provide a new dining hall, welfare and learning facilities as well as enhanced preparation and planning space for the teaching team.

‘Vernon Educational Trust’ the charitable organisation that owns and manages Danes Hill School selected MCS under competitive tendering to undertake the phased projects to enhance and update the school.

To date MCS have completed 3 project phases at Danes Hill, including:

Project 1: Construction of a new Block to house ground floor dining room and 10 new rooms across two floors providing classrooms and reading rooms and additional toilet facilities and a disability access lift.

Project 2: The conversion of the kitchen and original dining room into a new student library, which also doubles as a reception room for school functions, student welfare suite (including medical ward and shower rooms) and small staff working spaces for short term use.

Project 3: Internal Refurbishment of the Old School House including changes to the Head Master’s study, creating space for the Deputy Head’s office and support staff on lower floors, complete rewiring and refurbishment of the block which houses subject leader offices, specialist 1:1 teaching support rooms and the 100+ staff planning and preparation areas including a specific IT suite. Whilst the refurbishment offered up to date facilities, wiring and IT connectivity the changes in appearance to the rooms required sympathetic updating which reflects the age and style of the school house, including ornate coving and woodwork.

MCS worked in partnership with Company Secretary and Capital Projects Director, Mr William House, now retired from the role and with the current Estates Bursar Mr Phil Cunningham to successfully deliver the 3 projects of school enhancement.

The new 3 storey block was designed and constructed to balance the school and maintain linkage with the mid-late Victorian old schoolhouse after demolition of the block that was no longer suitable for the growing school. MCS took advantage of the blocks position to create a large outside patio area for summertime dining and hospitality allowing diners to enjoy the panorama of the school’s sports facilities and fields.

The ultra-modern block allows ample seating for the expanded pupil number across 3 lunchtime sittings, offering a light and spacious area for the children to enjoy social aspects of dining together. The kitchen is modern and provides ample space for the catering team to work and deliver the variety of food and hospitality the school requires. The new classrooms and reading rooms are created to the highest specification offering spacious, bright learning facilities with Ecophon ceilings to absorb and reduce noise.

At the heart of the build is a sophisticated BMS (Building Management System) which maintains heating, cooling and ventilation throughout. This system ensures appropriate air circulation with high level window vents. Teachers have control of mood lighting across each segment of their working space, the BMS hosts window blinds to the outside of the classroom which can be set in various positions to reflect the time of day and weather conditions.

The library now offers students a quality quiet environment to undertake research and project work with vast arrays of books and technology resources. A new entrance area for this block was created where once walls and cold store areas were hosted. The student welfare block offers a cosy but calm area for students who are unwell to rest and recover. Fitted with CCTV, security is paramount and reassuring for all. Unisex student shower facilities ensure comfort for all pupils even the very youngest pre-schoolers.

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