Cambridge Architects AABD: Architecture and Building Design for house extensions, renovations

Special Needs Pool for Cambridge’s Disabled Children

Windmill Special Needs School was in Fulbourn, just outside Cambridge and used to educate severely disabled children. Parents  of children at the school inspired this project, which was to build a therapy pool and changing rooms in a purpose built building.  However, Cambridgeshire County Council, who at the time were responsible for the school, feared they might be left with a “white elephant”.

We were appointed architects, as we are familiar with Cambridgeshire County Council’s  procedures and requirements.  In addition, our experience of  maintaining council properties, including schools was also useful.  It took us and the parents two years to persuade the council to support the scheme.

Our architectural design met the all the school’s requirements for the disabled, as well as the fund-raising committee’s budgets. For instance:

In addition, we suggested simple improvements to the way the new building connected to the school.  Working with the headmaster and Chairman of  the appeal committee, we also broke the contract into phases. This was because although the parents had raised some money, it wasn’t sufficient to complete the project. However, once work commenced, everyone felt more money would roll in.

As soon as the building work commenced, sufficient funds rolled in to complete the whole contract. The pool worked well for the school, until the school closed. It became a Steiner School even though the council received a higher bid from a private company. Partly, we suspect, this was because the county council wanted to keep this precious resource for the local community, particularly Cambridge Mencap.