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Greenhill and Drumpark Primary Schools

Greenhill and Drumpark Primary schools, Coatbridge

This refurbishment project has created renewed learning spaces that suit a broad range of needs, including ASN and community uses.

Overview

A carefully thought through and well implemented co-location of a nursery, primary school and ASN primary school into the former Coatbridge High School in North Lanarkshire.

ASN therapy facilities, new entrances and improved site access and play areas are all created by a sensitive refurbishment that also has key new build elements added such as a new shared entrance and a whole school social space. This school co-location creates a single stream mainstream primary with the potential of 210 places, an ASN primary with 100 places and an associated ‘language and communication’ nursery with 10 places.

The existing schools and nursery were kept fully open at their previous locations during the works allowing the construction to proceed without requiring complex phasing and decant into temporary classrooms.

Approach

Estate management issues at the existing sites of Drumpark & Greenhill Schools indicated that poor property and learning conditions existed in both locations. The combined pupil rolls from both these facilities would require a significant site area, and option appraisal was undertaken to find a suitable site.

The appraisal identified the Coatbridge site as meeting the site area needs to accommodate sufficient numbers of learners and the required external play areas.

In order to fully test the fit of this multi-purpose brief, a detailed feasibility study was undertaken. The business case was established through North Lanarkshire council developing two exemplar schemes – one for a new build facility on the site, and the other proposing demolition of redundant parts of the school, refurbishment of the Grade C listed sandstone building, and the addition of new build extensions. Both options were costed to establish the most economical approach. The approach chosen was to undertake a refurbishment and extension of the existing building, and to demolish the redundant and non-usable parts of the school to create space for new additions.

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The master plan for the school development was based on a strategy to ease construction phasing, and gain respective cost efficiencies as a result. Simple extensions are added to the front of the site and infill space between the existing building wings to create a covered flexible space. The site falls and level changes were also an influencing factor informing the site plan and the internal arrangement of the school. ASN spaces and the assessment nursery are located at Ground floor level with the non-ASN spaces located at first floor level. ASN spaces were located with the correct adjacencies to outdoor learning areas. A new single story shared school entrance is located to create a strong relationship with the street and a civic presence for the schools. Shell space has also been created as part of the works to allow for future expansion or use either as community or Local Authority officer accommodation. The cost plan and budget allowed for this, and the longer term view of capital expenditure creates value over the life cycle of the facility.

 

 

 

Lessons

  • Collaboration between asset and educational officers has been used to support vision and briefing for learning. The collaboration also helped support the development and inclusion of a reference design and a new build comparator. Both helped justify the investment

  •  Consult widely and within the host community and cohort on issues relating to use, outreach and the improvements that the project will bring. There was strong sense within the Coatbridge community that the school buildings should be reused.

  • Incorporate community spaces that support and bolster the outreach of the school facility, visible, accessible and easy to manage out of hours

  • A clearly informed educational brief can be matched to an historic setting and can support the co-location of ASN and non-ASN learners

  • Use careful assessment processes to identify under-utilised space, and plug in new uses to create greater operational and functional efficiencies. At Coatbridge this helped make space for new build additions and play spaces 

  • Work with the logic of the existing building in terms of grids, cores and key spaces. Analyse carefully and locate functions in spaces and areas best suited to meet the learning and operational requirements

  • Be economical in how and where additions are added. Group and pack new spaces efficiently: appreciate verticality but organise spaces with a mind to access requirements and play space drivers

 

Links

 

Architecture and Design Scotland

 

North Lanarkshire Council

 

CRGP Architects

 

Graham Construction

 

Images by CRGP Architects and Martin McAleer

 

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