Within the historic area of the grounds of our school there are two important woodland areas.
Within one wood was a former derelict school farm building. The Rowdeford Charity Trust at the school wished to restore and extend this as an Outdoor Learning Space to expand our ‘Outdoors Learning’ teaching activities. WHICH THEY NOW HAVE DONE !
About the Outdoor Learning Centre Scheme - Completed in 2017
The proposed scheme was the creation of a purpose built ‘Outdoor Learning Centre to facilitate and expand the delivery of existing ‘Outdoors Learning’ education within the particular educational sphere of Special Educational Needs (SEN). Building on the ‘Outstanding’ OFSTED rating of the School generally, the intention is to create an exemplary facility that extends its work to involve the wider community, visiting schools and offer training; becoming a Centre of Excellence.
The building and method of building construction was intended to be an active demonstration of ‘sustainable construction’ so that the design itself engages and educates. The intention was to use both the construction process and wider project to engage with the local community as well as with other schools and organisations enabling integration training and involvement across wide sectors of the community. ( See our Blog for some of this activity now !)
The existing ‘Kennels’ building (formerly school farm dairy & animal housing) remained on the site in a state of dereliction and the proposal was to sympathetically restore this facility as a simple, functional, weatherproof space repairing brickwork, timber and roof coverings. The intention is to be ‘minimalist’ in the refurbishment and within the restored spaces insert ‘pods’ or ‘self-contained’ units of free-standing accommodation creating storage and toilet facilities. This maintained the structure very closely to its 19th C origins and allows for integration of habitats e.g. swallows, bats.(we already have a Tawny Owl using the facility as a roost.)
As part of the first stage to use the site quickly -even in advance of the building works - A new access track has been constructed.
The siting and location of the scheme are determined precisely by the availability of the existing building and its location immediately next to the woodland that forms the external ‘teaching space’. The layout was determined by the need for a secure courtyard space, consideration of the height and form of existing building and orientation for sunlight.
The architectural design was kept to simple built forms using sustainable low maintenance materials.
The design of the restoration of the existing was intended as an exemplary facility. It mitigates against climate change through very low energy requirements and all materials resourced from sustainable resources. Floor wall and roof insulation levels are substantially better than minimum standards; high specification of glazing; high efficiency hot water and heating; low energy lighting and maximising of daylight use; water conservation measures. High performance timber frame fabric off site construction achieving very good air-tightness minimising energy loss.
Thanks to so many people and organisations that have given time, money or pledges we are there ! To get an update do visit our Fundraising Blog pages.