When Drybrook primary school contacted us they were managing some of their teaching activities out of several ageing out-buildings in a significant state of disrepair. Pupil numbers exceeded DfE guidance for the space available and the conditions in some areas were dark and cold. Critically, however, the existing buildings would still be required until the new provision was in place.
The greatest challenge to the project was the space planning required in the early stages. The school is located within the Forest of Dean with wooded areas on the site of the school. The final site chosen for the new building was located in consideration of ecology reports for the protection of existing habitats and to ensure the minimum impact on existing trees. As part of our scope of works, we produced a landscaping plan with a proposal for tree protection and replacement.
With the site decided, we prepared a proposal for two new classroom spaces with offices, toilet facilities and an entrance lobby, along with a separate nursery building all linked together with a decked play area and overhead canopy. The glazing and the elevated link between the two buildings were carefully planned to provide a visual connection to the existing school and take advantage of the views over the site. The final design met the standards of DfE building bulletin for area requirements in mainstream schools so the school could finally achieve compliance.
The interior space replaced all of the areas that were lost from the removal of the old buildings, but with light, spacious teaching areas, separate kitchen space and bright children’s toilet areas. We planned in several separate office and storage areas and one of the greatest successes of the project is the large decked outdoor area with an overhead canopy so that the children can enjoy outdoor learning in all weathers.