Major donation kickstarts funding drive for school’s SciTec campus

Oundle School's new SciTec centre - an architect's view of the inside. NNL-141114-103829001
Oundle School's new SciTec centre - an architect's view of the inside. NNL-141114-103829001

A half-million pound donation will help Oundle School begin its final stage of a state-of-the-art SciTec campus.

The public school has announced that it has received £500,000 to launch its fund-raising campaign to complete the final development phase of its SciTec Campus.

Oundle School's new SciTec campus. NNL-141114-103647001

Oundle School's new SciTec campus. NNL-141114-103647001

SciTec, an award-winning and innovative science complex, was opened in 2007 with sixteen state-of-the-art science laboratories.

This second and final phase, incorporating both a brand new mathematics department and a significant refurbishment of the Patrick Centre, will link science, mathematics, design, technology and engineering.

It will allow pupils to study new subjects including nanotechnology and mechatronics.

This donation has come from the Michael Uren Foundation.

Michael Uren OBE and his other trustees are passionate about seeking to encourage the education of engineers and development of engineering within the UK.

Oundle has long been recognised as one of the foremost science and engineering schools in the country.

The heritage of Frederick William Sanderson, Headmaster of Oundle from 1892 – 1922, is of practical, hands-on, machine-driven engineering and throughout most of the last century the school’s DT workshops were home for part of every term for every pupil.

This reputation of engineering success remains strong; many pupils who attended the school because of such aspirations have gone on to become the technological leaders of their generation.

The SciTec project has now reached the fundraising stage and he hopes that his donation will start the ball rolling, enabling works to commence in early 2015 and be completed by summer 2016.

Michael Uren said: “This wonderfully exciting project places Oundle where it should be - one of the foremost engineering schools in the country. The UK needs engineers and entrepreneurs if it is to compete and succeed in the future.

“We are delighted that my foundation can assist Oundle to achieve its fundraising dreams of completing the SciTec Campus and enhancing the Patrick Engineering Centre.”

Michael Uren, a graduate of Imperial College in Mechanical Engineering, founded Civil and Marine Ltd and built it into the UK’s foremost producer of marine aggregates, and then followed this up by developing the manufacture of cement from a by-product of the iron and steel industry.

In the process Michael created one of the largest deep sea dredging companies in the world, transporting up to four and a half million tonnes of marine aggregates per year from the bed of the North Sea to the coastlines of Northern Germany.

Architects, van Heyningen and Haward have been appointed to design and produce the new SciTec Campus.

The extensive refurbishment and re-design of the Patrick Engineering Centre will offer additional facilities and opportunities. The current ‘large projects’ space for which Oundle is famous will be retained but relocated, and a design laboratory for prototyping and design work will be created, acoustically segregated from the practical facilities.

A ‘clean laboratory’ will be provided adjacent to the design laboratory, enabling high-tech processes such as 3D printing and robotics to be deployed. In addition to the large projects space, there will be four open-plan workshop bays that will enable pupils to be taught in small groups while sharing fixed machinery, as well as two new dedicated classrooms for design and theory that will be easily accessible.

Headmaster Charles Bush said: “Engineering is the lifeblood of Oundle’s history and heritage. The school must continue to inspire pupils to become engineers to carry on the tradition for the good of the nation.

“The future of science and engineering will involve the blurring of disciplines and the aim of the SciTec campus is to enable young minds to think with an increasingly interdisciplinary focus which will help them succeed at university and in industry.

”We are immensely grateful for the enthusiasm of all those, including Michael Uren, who share our vision to secure the future of science, technology, engineering and mathematics at Oundle, not only for our pupils but for British industry as a whole.”

Further details about the development can be found on the School’s website under ‘development plans’.