What do you do with a condemned school Swimming Pool? Turn in into an amazing new Dining Hall of course!

What do you do with a condemned school Swimming Pool?
Turn it into an amazing new Dining Hall of course!



St Edward’s Church of England Academy in Romford joined the Unity Schools Partnership in April 2018. The Unity group of schools is made up of schools located on the Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire borders and has built up its reputation based on its schools sharing the same values. St Edward’s is the first London school to join Unity Schools Partnership.
St Edward’s aims for all learners to live ‘Life in all its Fullness’. To achieve this, the ethos of St Edward’s is focused on HOPE (Humanity, Optimism, Perseverance, Excellence). The school is friendly and welcoming, offers excellent care, guidance and support to all students and strives for the highest academic achievements.

The Project Requirements

The school had an old disused Swimming Pool on site which had been condemned as unsafe. The Swimming Pool was situated in the centre of the building and was a stark symbol of decay to all at the school. This wasted space was ripe for renovation. The school had been designed without a dining hall and the Swimming Pool area would be the perfect space. The project involved bringing together many contractors who needed to work together to ‘make it happen’ prior to the start of the new term in September. This complete renovation needed to take place, from start to finish, during the six week summer holidays.

Making the space fit for 21st Century education meant that the area needed to be used for more than just dining. The dining hall would also be the perfect spot for whole Key Stage assemblies and large scale learning opportunities. This required the technology necessary to use this large space as a classroom. As Proactive AV

are the chosen audio-visual supplier to Unity Schools Partnership, they were involved in the project from the start to finish. From the very first survey carried out by the Proactive Technical Project Manager, the team worked together with the other companies involved in the project to ensure that all works were carried out at the right time and to the deadline set by the school. Proactive advised on technical matters and also ensured that practical planning was completed from the outset so that the installations were as clean as possible (like ensuring that cables were chased into the walls and power sockets were in the correct places). Other members of the team were PCH Associates (Newmarket), ARW Specialist Building Contractors (Baldock) and Shield Interiors (Aylesbury).

The Audio-Visual Project

The school requirement was to be able to project an image as large as possible on to one of the end walls and to include two flat panel screens on each side of the dining hall for additional display purposes. They wanted to be able to control the display areas via two control points and also required a complete sound and microphone system housed in a lockable wall mounted rack system.

The Audio-Visual Solution

Proactive installed an 8000 lumens projector with bespoke lens, housed in a security cage, on to one of the existing ceiling beams. The projector provided a 6m 16:10 widescreen ratio image on to a flat wall which had been prepared using specialist projector paint – this negated the need for an electric screen. Two 55” flat panel display screens were installed using cantilever brackets, on either side of the hall halfway down from the projected image and six high powered speakers were mounted at the front, side and back of the room. The sound system and microphones were housed in a lockable wall mounted rack unit which was in easy reach of the operator.

The Deadline

Because of the scope of the work to be carried out by all parties, timings were very tight, and a great deal of co-operation and co-ordination was required. The dining hall needed to be used by the school on Thursday 5th September and every part of the floor laying, audio visual and dining room furniture installations needed to be completed by that time, once the major building works had been carried out.

The Finished Result


Michael Vaughan, Head of IT of Unity Schools Partnership said:

  I just wanted to say a massive thanks for all the work the Proactive team put in to get the AV kit into St Edwards. I told the Head it would be a miracle if you were able to meet her impossible deadline and expectations…but you did it! I was at St Edwards earlier in the week and the Head was almost jumping for joy that you over-delivered!  


 Jodie Hassan, Headteacher of St Edwards CofE Academy said:

  We are absolutely delighted with our new dining room. The school was founded in 1710 and it has taken until 2019 to have a pleasant and appropriate dining area. The impact of the audio-visual equipment on the success of this space cannot be understated. We are now able to run regular assemblies with almost 400 students seated and benefitting from the opportunity. Our sincere thanks to Proactive for all your help in bringing the vision to fruition. 

Contact the ProactiveAV team at:

T: 01480 810405

E: info@proactiveav.co.uk

W: www.proactiveav.co.uk