Pupils ready to arrive at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi

Saadiyat Island school will be the largest campus in the UAE’s capital

NEWS, Projects, Aecom, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi, Davis langdon, Saadiyat island, Tdic

The first intake of Foundation Stage 1 to Year 9 pupils are set to arrive at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi next month.

Built over seven hectares of land on Saadiyat Island, the school will become the largest campus in the UAE’s capital.

The 8,565m2 junior school, estates management building, irrigation tank, science block, sports hall (including a 10m swimming pool) and large sports pitches have all been completed.

The new facility is a partnership between Cranleigh – an independent school based in Surrey, near London, in the United Kingdom – and TDIC.

Jassim Al Hammadi, director of buildings and infrastructure at TDIC, said: “As with all school projects there is no room for movement with respect to the completion dates due to the commencement of the school year in September.

“From the outset, this has been a fast-track project in terms of the procurement of the contractor through to the construction phase. The project has had to plan very carefully and proactively as many of the key finishing works had been taking place during Ramadan and summertime.”

“The truly collaborative approach that has been taken with this project has seen organisational name badges set aside to form a ‘Cranleigh Project Team’ to instill ownership and the most efficient working environment,” he added.

The 70,000m2 school campus has been built using a phased handover process. The aforementioned junior school and associated buildings have been completed in time for September, but the senior school will not complete until the end of the year.

While the final touches are being put on the senior school, large hoardings will be erected to separate the newly-opened section from the ongoing construction site. Both the junior and senior schools will house their own classrooms, faculty offices, administration offices, dining halls and library. Once the entire complex is complete, it will contain specialist facilities for music, science, art, design and technology, drama, dance, sports and IT suites.

It will also house a 650-seat auditorium, 3,500m2 sports centre and 19,300m2 of outdoor fields with recreational areas that will include two grass pitches, an Astroturf pitch, four tennis courts and two swimming pools. The indoor arena will have two full-sized courts that can be used for basketball, football, badminton, gymnasium, dance studios and a drama suite.

A staff accommodation building is being constructed by Tafseer although on a separate building permit, while a further contract will be awarded at a later date for phase 2 works, which includes an arts block, student accommodation and additional sports fields.

The school will be able to comfortably accommodate 2,300 pupils, but a decision was taken early on in the construction process that there would be a maximum of 1,550 pupils; no more than 18 pupils per classroom, which are, on average, 50m2.

Headmaster Brendan Law, who is also director of education at TDIC, said: “Everything is brand new. I know the school inside out. I’ve walked around it in my head 1,000 times, I know every classroom, hallway and cupboard space.” 

For the full site visit report of Cranleigh Abu Dhabi, check out this week's edition of Construction Week.

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