Work is underway to deliver the new Elm Park Primary School in Winterbourne, which will totally replace the existing buildings over two phases and provide 210 places for local children, to learn in high quality classrooms designed to Passivhaus standards to minimise environmental impact.
The first phases of the project, which is expected to cost around £11 million, provided by the council, will open for pupils at the start of term in September 2023. The demolition work required will be undertaken over the summer holiday period next year, with the remaining landscaping and external works being completed in November 2023. The new school will be fully completed in time for Christmas next year.
The new school will totally transform the existing school site and incorporates not only educational facilities, but spaces for community use as well, including the hall, a new multi-use outdoor sports pitch and the playing field.
The new facilities will include eight fully fitted classrooms and elements of the Early Years playground, which will be delivered as part of phase 1. Phase 2 will see the demolition of the existing building and finishing to complete the rest of the outdoor areas, main access and parking spaces.
Environmentally-focussed design features include high-efficiency insulation, windows and ventilation. The building minimises the need for energy consumption, while also generating its own electricity via solar panels.
Heating will be from air source heat pumps and all kitchen equipment will be on electric energy, dramatically reducing the reliance on fossil fuels.
South Gloucestershire Council Cabinet Members with responsibility for Schools and for project managing infrastructure projects like this one, councillors Erica Williams and Ben Burton, visited the site recently with Headteacher, Carol-Marie Bond and local councillors Nic Labuschagne and Trevor Jones.
Councillor Williams said: “Our top priority is to give all children in South Gloucestershire the best possible start in life. Learning and growing as young people in a new, purpose-built school, designed for the future, which is why I am so pleased to see the progress being made here. The new buildings will give teachers and pupils the space and the resources they will need to thrive and achieve their full potential.”
Councillor Burton said: “Alongside the need for high quality school environments, we are committed to delivering value for money and to taking decisions as a council that contribute to the welfare of current and future generations.
“When we declared a Climate Emergency, we said we wanted to take meaningful actions to help the district become carbon neutral by 2030. By designing this innovative new school to Passivhaus standards, we are reducing not only the running costs of the buildings, but their impact on the environment. By generating its own power and being insulated to the highest standards, this school will sit alongside the new Frenchay school as examples of what we can achieve when we consider our needs not just now, but into the future.”
Elm Park Primary School Headteacher, Carol-Marie Bond, said: “As a school, we are truly excited that our Passivhaus school is in the process of being built. We cannot wait to move in so that the children of Elm Park and our wider community can enjoy the incredible facilities that will be available.”
The project is being delivered by experienced education contractor, BAM, who have also built the new Frenchay Primary School. Project Manager, Kurt Williams, said: “For BAM’s team to get on site and start bringing the vision for this school to life is a momentous time for everybody.
“We are delighted to be delivering these state-of-the-art facilities, which will undoubtedly benefit generations to come. As always, we will look for ways to work with the community around us to add value and behave responsibly so that we do our bit to tackle the climate crisis.”