14 November 2017

New sustainable Devon primary school reaches significant construction milestone

Construction of a new £2.9 million sustainable primary school at Loddiswell, a small village located near Kingsbridge in South Devon, is well underway.  Commissioned and funded by Devon County Council, the four-class school is being designed by NPS South West and built by Midas Construction on land adjacent to a housing development, gifted to the community as part of the original planning permission.  The new facility has reached an important project milestone; Midas have now completed installation of the prefabricated structurally insulated panels (SIPs) and roof cassettes, supplied and installed by Innovare. 

Due to complete in March 2018, this new sustainable primary school will provide an exciting purpose-built environment for high-quality teaching and learning, both internally and externally. This is the first time the school will have all its facilities on one site, including a playing field and multi-use games area (MUGA), vegetable patch and forest school complete with covered pergola.

Andy McAdam, Divisional Director for Midas Construction in Devon and Cornwall said: “The project has reached an exciting stage and is really starting to take shape. Our team have worked closely with the community throughout the scheme so far and look forward to completing a primary school that will support local children for generations to come.”

Exeter-based Property design and management consultants, NPS South West, is providing full multidisciplinary design and project management services, alongside specialist interdisciplinary design consultancy Hamson Barron Smith.  The design expresses critical regionalism in its architecture and utilises an agricultural pallet of materials and forms, such as stone, timber and render. Its low massing is sympathetic to its setting, both to the adjacent residential buildings and to the surrounding conservation area. The building design uses a highly efficient thermal envelope and maximises natural daylighting and ventilation.

NPS SW Project Manager, Claire Walkey comments: “It’s been a sterling effort by Midas who have achieved this significant construction landmark, which will allow the following internal works to commence on programme.  NPS is delighted to be involved in this much anticipated project, which will provide a purpose-built exciting environment for high-quality teaching and learning both internally and externally.’’

NPS SW Architect, Kate Wotton adds: “This project is going to bring a lot of joy to the pupils and staff of Loddiswell School. It has been a privilege to work alongside Devon County Council and the school to develop this fantastic facility. The NPS team have worked hard to develop a sustainable school sympathetic to its environment and budget. “

With the village of Loddiswell being off-gas, the Mechanical and Electrical Engineers (M&E), adopted an air-source heat pump approach to the heating and to complement this, the project also includes photovoltaic (PV) panels. Together with the provision of air-source heat pumps and fabric first approach, it is anticipated that the school will be theoretically zero carbon in use.

The low energy approach also included wind-catchers in the natural ventilation strategy.  This was developed through the Building Physics strategy that had to balance the requirements for natural ventilation, solar shading and daylighting, all of which informed the façade design and creates an excellent teaching environment. An open swale has been incorporated as part of the Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) SUDs scheme which will be planted with wetland loving wild flowers to assist in the absorption of the water, increase biodiversity, and add interest to the site for the staff and pupils.

Devon County Council’s Cabinet member for schools, James McInnes, said: “This new school is being built as a result of excellent community cooperation in conjunction with the South Hams Federation and the county council.  It will provide 21st century learning facilities for the children of the area and have the capacity to expand to five classes as the school grows.”

Local County Councillor Rufus Gilbert concludes: “I am delighted that this long-awaited school is now proceeding. It’s very good news for the children of Loddiswell.”  He adds: “I would pay tribute to the many people who have given a huge amount of time to achieve this result, and I want to thank Devon County Council who realised the need and urgency to grasp this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

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