THERE’S A BRAND-NEW SCHOOL IN THE MADOKERO AREA NEAR TO WESTGATE WHICH OPENED IN JANUARY THIS YEAR. IT’S THE
BRAINCHILD OF A LEADING EDUCATIONAL TRUST AND IT’S BEEN DESIGNED TO EDUCATE AND NURTURE CHILDREN TO BE
SUCCESSFUL IN ALL ASPECTS OF THEIR FUTURE LIVES.
The school was built by a group of private investors including Minerva Risk Advisors, Freda Rebecca Gold Mine Pension Fund and Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) through an investment vehicle managed by Smartvest Wealth Managers. Its an ongoing project with more classrooms, hostels and facilities to be added in future phases.
The focal point of the school is the central reception and administration block. Its an imposing, modern, double storey structure mostly clad in reflective blue glass. (Blue, purple and grey are the colours of the school’s logo.) There’s a high portico roof over the entrance to shield the interior from the sun and shelter it from the rain. On either side of the entrance are charming water fountains to add a feeling of sophistication and tranquillity. Inside on the ground floor is the main reception, a cashier’s point for convenient payments and offices and storerooms. Up the central
staircase there’s the administrator’s office, the headmaster’s office as well as a small kitchenette, ablutions and more office and storage space. The main block is situated right next to the paved pick up and drop off driveway which also provides ample parking space for parents and visitors.
The school was designed by architect Brighton Madondo from the local firm Studio 5 Architects. Studio 5 has designed a number of leading projects across various disciplines – Industrial (many factories and warehouses), Commercial (Gweru Mall and Cell Insurance HQ), Institutional (Nattie College and Marondera University of Agriculture, Science and Technology) Medical facilities (VFM Medical Centre) and a number of prestigious residential projects – to name just a few.
The driveway is separated from the road by palisade fencing and a solid brick wall with the entrance gate manned by a security guard. The school logo can be seen on the boundary wall, above the guard’s station and over the entrance to the admin block so the school is clearly visible and proudly branded. The contemporary design of the main block hints at the state-of-the-art infrastructure which the rest of the school offers.
To the left of the reception is the dining hall which is a multi-functional space that can be used for meals, assemblies or other indoor activities like games or drama productions. It has an intriguing, high, asymmetrical roof which extends out in front and on both sides to cover the veranda spaces. The front gable wall has large, individually and irregularly placed windows each with a slanted top to match the slope of the roof. At the opposite
end of the hall is a large kitchen, pantry, storeroom and cold room with serving hatches between the kitchen and the main room so the children can get their food served up and return their cutlery and crockery to the washing up area.
Each classroom has an interactive smartboard as an advanced, state-of-the-art teaching aid. Every child receives his or her own private laptop fully loaded with their learning material and used for homework assignments and research. The classrooms have generous windows on both sides so they’re well lit and airy. In the centre of each block, where the two wings intersect, there are ablutions for boys and girls on either side of the
staircase. There are additional staircases at the end of each wing. As the demand for more classrooms grows with additional enrolment a second classroom block will be built – also L-shaped – so the two blocks together will form an internal courtyard or quadrangle for assemblies.
Because the soil is sometimes waterlogged the construction of the various buildings required extra-deep 6m, steel reinforced pilings for stability.
Steel for the pilings and the construction was supplied by Steelforce and Zimsteel. Esor Construction Zimbabwe supplied the pilings while Promecs Engineering Consultants were the lead engineers. Quote Construction were the main building contractor supplying the brickwork, the roofing, tiling, painting and plumbing. Twic Aluminium provided all the aluminium door and window frames with glazing provided by City Glass. The school board employed QS Consultants as project managers on site. Bricks were sourced from Willdale and cement from PPC while the pavers for the driveway
and parking area were supplied and installed by Homestyle Bricks. Solar Masters provided the solar geysers and lighting.
The school has an extensive array of solar panels to augment the ZESA supply and it has three boreholes for their water supply. Northwest High School has twinned with a number of other schools in the region and abroad and there are student exchange programmes in the pipeline. It’s a truly modern school dedicated to nurturing students to become fully integrated Global Citizens
To contact Northwest High School:
14573 Exodus Makumbe Drive, Madokero, Westgate
+263 773 289 812 or +263 773 656 863
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
-text by Michael Nott
-photos by Fotohaus