Pictured above: Hampshire County Council’s executive member for education, councillor Peter Edgar, collecting the award with Alec Gillies’ widow Carmel and Property Service colleagues.
The County Council’s executive member for education, councillor Peter Edgar, joined staff on stage at the gala evening in Southampton last week to collect the Quality Place Award for their work on the Westgate School in Winchester — the county’s first all through school.
Councillor Edgar said: “This award win is particularly poignant as the Westgate project was led by architect Alec Gillies, who sadly passed away shortly after the scheme was completed last year, so I know this means a lot to all the team involved.
“Our architects have a brilliant track record for turning an ambitious vision into a high quality reality, knowing how to best use spaces to make them as welcoming and dynamic as they can be for Hampshire’s young people.
“Westgate pupils will be able to thrive in an environment which is practical, enjoyable and modern for many years to come and it is part of Alec’s lasting contribution to public architecture which he championed.”
Alec’s widow, Carmel, explained how much the award means to her and her family. Carmel said: “This is a fantastic tribute to Alec and the team who worked on The Westgate School. Alec is much missed by his family, friends and colleagues but I am touched that his legacy lives on in his work across so many designs in Hampshire.”
The team’s work involved re-modelling and extending the former boarding house and nursery to create a new 420-place primary school on the site of the existing secondary school to create Hampshire’s first 4-16 years ‘all-through school’ campus.
The new primary school was completed in summer 2015 with double height open spaces at its core to increase natural light and ventilation, which also provides greater flexibility for learning and social interaction. The brick walls and slate roof also complement and closely match the surrounding school campus. On and off site works have also provided additional staff car parking, improved pedestrian routes and parent drop-off and collection.
Westgate School was part of a major capital investment programme by Hampshire County Council’s Children’s Services Department, which delivered over 6,300 new school places between 2013 and 2016. The current programme represents a £308m investment to deliver a further 11,000 new school places across the county by 2019.