by Hannah Hiles
A top Birmingham ballet school is set to expand its boarding accommodation for sixth form students by redeveloping former police housing.
Final year students at Elmhurst School for Dance, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s associate school, currently live in private rented accommodation but the new development will enable the school to allow all students to board.
The Edgbaston-based school is working with landlord Calthorpe Estates, Jewellery Quarter-based architects St Paul’s Associates, and construction, design and management co-ordinator DBK to provide the additional accommodation.
Former police housing on the Tally Ho site in Pershore Road in Edgbaston will be redeveloped to provide the 30-bedroom accommodation for students and two members of Elmhurst’s pastoral care staff.
Work on the scheme is set to begin in January, with the building scheduled to open in spring.
The high profile school was visited by Strictly Come Dancing Judge Darcey Bussell last year, to give the students some tips from the top.
The accommodation will include a mix of single and twin occupancy study-bedrooms with en-suite facilities, along with two common rooms and a large kitchen/dining area. The staff quarters will comprise separate accommodation each including a bedroom, dining/kitchenette, bathroom and a living room.
There will also be a laundry and drying room, office space, meeting rooms, internet café for up to six people, storage rooms for suitcases, access to an external recreation area, a quiet room, first aid room and storage for maintenance equipment.
The accommodation will meet the national standards for boarding schools.
Jessica Ward, principal of Elmhurst School for Dance, said: “We have been working in partnership with Calthorpe Estates to create a new, close by, home for the school’s sixth form students which has been extremely exciting.
Teams from all the organisations involved have taken time to get to know the school which has really impressed me and the staff. We have worked hard to ensure the new scheme meets the students’ needs for living away from home and adds vibrancy to the local community.”
Tim Abbotts, Calthorpe’s Director of Estates, said: “We have always had a close relationship with Elmhurst School for Dance over the years as they have been based on the Estate, so it was only natural they approached us when they were looking at their future expansion plans and need for additional student boarding accommodation.
“Fortunately we started looking for the right location two years ago with the aim of delivering for the spring term of 2014, which allowed us to identify a solution which was also helpful to another of our business customers, the police.
“We have taken a surrender of the police housing on the Tally Ho site which we will be redeveloping for Elmhurst. Despite being a tired 1960s scheme, the site is ideal being within a short walk of the school and local amenities.”
Phil Powell, of St Paul’s Associates, added: “The project reinforces Calthorpe Estates’ commitment to sustainability in that it makes good use of an otherwise redundant block of maisonette flats.
"The 1960s structure will be overclad to attain high levels of insulation with the aim of minimising energy use and to create a striking appearance for the rejuvenated building.”
DBK has been appointed project manager, employer’s agent, quantity surveyor and construction, design and management co-ordinator (CDMC).
The project management and cost consultancy was appointed to the scheme due to its previous experience of delivering student accommodation for Calthorpe Estates at the 30-bed Greenfield Crescent scheme in Edgbaston.
Stuart Clark, partner at DBK, said: “The design and construction of student accommodation is becoming more complex and sophisticated as universities and schools continue to invest for the future.
!DBK has considerable expertise in delivering this type of project to the highest possible standards. We are delighted to play our role in ensuring the school continues to deliver to its own highest standards of dance training in the future.”
Students attend Elmhurst from all over the world and go on to perform with major dance companies, including Birmingham Royal Ballet, Northern Ballet, the Royal Ballet, Balleto di Milano and National Ballet of Croatia.