Ashville College Sports Centre

A new, modular, state-of-the-art facility

Project summary

  • Client: Ashville College
  • Location: Harrogate
  • Sector: Education / Retail+Leisure
  • Size: 22,000 sqft
  • Value: £3.5 million
  • Status: Completed


  • Building AwardsBest Offsite | Finalist | 2018
  • Offsite AwardsEducation Project of the Year | Finalist | 2018


Ashville College is a co-educational independent school in Harrogate, which offers outstanding sport facilities to its students and the wider community. Our challenge was to successfully provide these facilities in the context of the school’s historic buildings and the suburban setting, reconcile complex access and level challenges with the existing buildings, and to do so to a very tight construction programme.

As an infill, linking four other buildings, the site was not a natural candidate for a pre-fabricated approach. However, time-pressure prevailing over the project led us to explore unconventional methods and how we might innovatively adapt an off-site method to the site. The project is an exemplar of how modular construction can be tailored to a site, and how the benefits can be felt on even specialist buildings, such as a fitness facility with sprung floors and fully-equipped gymnasium.

Innovative solutions

By choosing pre-fabricated construction, groundworks could commence on site whilst the modules were being formed and fitted-out in the factory, providing huge time-savings to the project. The building was successfully delivered in a mere 20 weeks.

This project demonstrates that, with buildability embedded from the start, it is possible to deliver on-time, on budget, without compromising on design or ambition. Design excellence should not be limited to showstopper projects; this is a modest building with big ambitions. A project with enormous time and budgetary pressure could easily result in a project that delivers below expectations, with a simplified design or reduced scope to maximise efficiency and buildability.

Maintenance and operation of the sports centre and changing rooms in particular was a major point of focus. Each changing room is designed with a sloping floor and end drainage meaning that it can be hosed down and cleaned between say a rugby team and a dance troupe. Underfloor heating throughout keeps surfaces clean and clear whilst large sheet robust surfaces to the floors and walls provides additional robustness to water, dirt and makes cleaning easier.

Theses sloping concrete slabs were easily achieved, with the modular contractor constructing steel frame boxes with sloping bottom chords, laying these horizontally during concrete pours and then adjusting back again once the concrete had cured, effectively achieving for free what would have been a complex detail to build traditionally.