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ABDA picks up Blue Coat to head back to school

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ABDA designed the updated servery and dining room for the Blue Coat School in Birmingham.

ABDA has completed an expansion and modernisation of catering facilities within a well-known Birmingham school.

The Blue Coat School, which was founded by the Church of England in 1722, is steeped in history and renowned across the county for its charitable heritage and famous former teachers. Its roster includes Marie Bethell Beauclerc, the first female teacher at an all-boys school and a pioneer in teaching shorthand.

Now, the school has moved from its initial home to its current location on Somerset Road, which lies on the border between Edgbaston and Harborne, and teaches boys and girls aged between two and 11.

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The original client brief was to expand and modernise the current commercial kitchen onsite and create an efficient kitchen to feed 500. As the project progressed, so did the brief, which grew into a full design and build, kitchen and refectory project encompassing kitchen equipment, builders works, lighting and furniture.

The client knew of ABDA after visiting one of the design company’s previous projects at Oswestry School in Shropshire. The bursar was reportedly impressed with the quality of work, and so engaged with ABDA to contract it to design the servery and dining room.

Blue Coat wanted the servery to be brought into the same room as the kitchen so that it could be hidden behind folding doors.

David Hones, senior catering designer at ABDA said: “We had to spin the kitchen by 90 degrees and make use of the existing rooms outside the kitchen to create both a larger kitchen and increased servery area.”

The functionality and flow of the servery was improved by opening up the wall between the kitchen and dining hall. This created a setting that would allow for better communication between the two are-as and create a dual flow of students.

Plus the overall feel of the dining room was enhanced by forming three new glazed doors out to the courtyard, providing more natural light in to the space.

Paul Siebke, senior interior design at ABDA added: “We replaced the flooring and ceilings within which has enhanced the acoustics of the room. The overall comfort was refined with new heating and air-conditioning as well as a new lighting scheme. In addition, ABDA provided new furniture through-out, giving a sophisticated look with some splashes of colour.”

The project transpired during the summer months of the school holidays and was completed on time for the start of the new academic year.

Gareth Morgan, bursar at The Blue Coat School said: “We are delighted with our new dining hall and kitchen refurbishment designed and project managed by ABDA.

“The new space is light and vibrant and it was wonderful to see the children’s delighted faces as they saw their new dining area for the first time. The addition of the new servery has allowed for a larger seating area and the children move through with a better flow, speeding up the lunchtime service.

“Additional heating and lighting has created a much warmer ambience in which to dine and also a venue that can be used for functions as well as school mealtimes.”

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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