The Lantern SEN School Remodelling
Portsmouth City Council
  • Education
  • Local Government
  • Refurbishment


Portsmouth City Council were looking to refurbish the old Harbour School site in Fratton, to create the new, modern facilities required for this new facility known as The Lantern for Mary Rose Academy. New specialist spaces were needed for young people with significant physical and mental disabilities to support their learning, and the quality of specialist teaching provided. The Council approached Mountjoy to provide a budget cost for the works prior to authorising the refurbishment to go ahead.


Mountjoy commenced the project in June, with the understanding that the site had to be ready for the start of the Autumn term in September. The alteration works to the 3-storey school included extensive internal remodelling, along with external drainage works, access ramp installations and fencing/window repairs.

These alterations created new spaces split into two main areas. The first comprises a specialist classroom, a sensory suite, a group teaching room, a multi-functional practical space and toilet facilities. The second area provides 1-to-1 spaces, a common room, laundry rooms, and a second sensory space for older children.

Due to the extremely tight timescales on the project, collaboration between all key stakeholders was of the utmost importance. Part of the scope involved developing a design solution for the M&E package, for which we held two-weekly technical meetings with the Council, our subcontractor and the Solent Academy Trust. This enabled us to adapt the solution to meet the school’s exact requirements.

In order to complete the project within the agreed 13-week programme, our team worked 7 days per week, with two Site Managers doing shift work. The site hours were 7am until 8pm, with the programme based on making full use of these hours. Ultimately, we were able to meet the completion date, with the school staff able to fit out the building with furniture and IT infrastructure in readiness for the new term.

After visiting The Lantern Councillor Darren Sanders, the Council's Cabinet Member for Housing said:
"This new state-of-the-art school will make a difference to the lives of many young people with complex needs as well as their families.
I am hugely impressed at the range of facilities now available. It should not be understated how professional the new space looks especially given the tight delivery deadline."

Mountjoy carried out a voluntary additional landscaping project to the School, using donated materials. Five senior members of staff built and installed brand new planters, with some much welcomed assistance by pupils.