Abingdon School Sports Complex, Abingdon, Oxfordshire

  • Abingdon School

  • Abingdon School Sports Complex 3

  • Abingdon School Sports Complex 2

A technically challenging construction of a world-class, £7 million sports facility and swimming pool built within a conservation area.


Construction of an eight-lane, 25-metre swimming pool, fitness suite, judo hall, indoor rowing suite, climbing zone, squash courts, changing rooms and viewing galleries. The scheme also included the creation of a hospitality suite and classroom, with disabled access throughout the complex. The new sports facility was opened by the former Minister for Sport, Kate Hoey MP.


  • Construction of a ‘wave form’ roof working with 21-metre glue laminated (glulam) timber beams in a live school environment
  • Extensive glazing
  • Innovative and sensitive application of brick, steel, glass and timber cladding within a conservation environment


The new sports centre’s challenging, innovative design required Beard’s application of the latest building technology to construct a ‘wave form’ roof. This required complex scaffolding to work with 21 metre, long-span Glulam beams weighing 2.2 tonnes which had to be fixed into position. Other design elements included extensive areas of steel and glass and the installation of Taraflex sports flooring, which was also used in the Beijing Olympics. The roof’s visually pleasing wooden appearance was achieved by using red cedar cladding to soften the impact of the building and ensure it blended sensitively with the landscape in a conservation area. The use of handmade bricks for the construction of parts of the pool hall also complemented neighbouring listed buildings.


“The sports complex at Abingdon School demonstrates Beard’s ability to deliver large-scale, innovative and technically challenging projects. The innovative use of multiple complementary finishes, including brick, steel, glass and timber cladding, all within a conservation environment, inevitably throw up challenges, but the results speak for themselves.” 

Jonathan Webster, Bursar, Abingdon School


Abingdon School

Contract value

£7.5 million


Buttress Fuller Alsop Williams

Quantity Surveyor

Bristow Johnson & Partners

Contract duration

16 months

Form of Contract

JCT Private without quants

Procurement Method

Two stage

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