Morgan Sindall Construction Infrastructure
Skyway Flatglass & Lonsdale
The Houlton School, located in the emerging mini-town of Houlton, was created through the transformation of the historic Rugby Radio Station. The radio station, built between 1922 and 1926 by the General Post Office, was once one of the largest long-wave wireless stations in the world. Its transmitter building, known as C Station, now serves as the heart of the secondary school.
The decision to convert the radio station into a school was made as part of the Houlton development project, which aimed to create a new community with residential areas, schools, healthcare facilities, and community spaces. The project was a joint venture between Urban&Civic and Aviva Investors.
Architectural firm van Heyningen and Haward (vHH) was tasked with the conversion of the Grade II-listed transmitter building and the design of new buildings. The project presented numerous challenges, including fitting classrooms and facilities into the existing structures and complying with strict space standards for a 6FE (form entry) school.
The restoration and repurposing of the radio station’s buildings were carefully executed to preserve their historic character while integrating modern school functions. Energy efficiency was a priority, with insulation, high-performance windows, and ventilation with heat recovery implemented to reduce energy consumption.
The completion of Houlton School demonstrates the successful repurposing of a historic structure for educational purposes. It showcases the possibilities of retrofitting existing buildings and emphasizes the importance of sustainable design and preservation in modern construction projects.