Hugh, tell us about your role and how long you have been at the college.
My current role is Capital Development Project Manager and I oversee all our new build projects and developments. I have been in this role for just under a year having semi-retired last year and moved to a 3-day working week. Overall however, I have been at the college for 26 Years as part of the Senior Management Team; my previous role when I was full-time was Director of Estates, Facilities & Sustainability.
Please give a brief explanation of the college and who it caters for.
Founded in 1967, National Star is a UK–wide charity that prepares young people with disabilities for adulthood and supports them to realise their aspirations. From the world–class learning it provides via an Ofsted “outstanding” college to specialist therapies, residential services, work-based training, social enterprises and work in the wider community, the charity is driven by its vision for a world in which people with disabilities are able to realise their potential as equal and active citizens in control of their lives.
Tell us a bit about the grounds.
National Star currently employs around 1,000 staff across 3 educational centres and 4 residential centres across Cheltenham and Gloucester. The National Star College at Ullenwood is our largest campus and is set in approximately 85 Acres within an area of outstanding natural beauty.
How many students does the college currently have?
National Star has approximately 220 students across our 3 main educational centres in Cheltenham, Hereford & Mamhilad. Of these, approximately 120 are residential with us. In addition to this we have a number of long-term residents at our residential centres in Cheltenham & Gloucester.
What the aim was for the refurbished rooms?
The 7 new accommodation rooms were built in what was previously our day centre and office accommodation, adjoining 12 existing bedrooms in our Cotswold building. That part of the building was demolished internally creating a shell into which the new rooms were built. The aim of the project was to provide additional accommodation here at Ullenwood.
Why did National Star choose On The Level for their wet room solutions?
All the bedrooms that we build have en-suite bathrooms with shower, toilet and wash basin. Due to the nature of their disability many of our students will use a shower chair, so a shower cubicle is not an option, we need to create a wet room. Some students are showered on a shower trolley and as such, the water is not contained in one place. This meant that having the correct falls to the drain was crucial to ensure the water does not track into the bedroom. With previous new builds there have been a number of problems achieving the correct fall to the drain and we have had to overcome pooling and water going into bedrooms. The OTL solution has overcome this beautifully.
How easy/reliable have you found OTL?
The contractor found the OTL system convenient to install and from a client’s point of view the experience has been a positive one.
Would Star College use OTL again?
Our architects are currently in discussions with OTL for our next new build project in Hereford.
Any other comments/feedback.
We have found working with OTL to be a positive experience and we are grateful that they have made every effort to fully understand our concerns and requirements to provide a solution that works in practice.