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Westvale Park Primary Academy - external

Growing schools for a growing community

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Expansion works are well underway at Oakwood School in Horley, as Morgan Sindall Construction and Surrey County Council continue to provide school places in an environmentally sustainable way following the opening of Westvale Park Primary Academy last year.

The works at Oakwood began in January, and along with a series of upgrades and improvements, will allow the school to accommodate a total of 1,650 pupils after works complete in 2023.

This follows the construction of the brand-new Westvale Park Primary Academy in Horley in June last year.

Both projects will ensure the necessary school places continue to be available in the area despite Horley’s growing population.

The works form part of the council’s 2030 community vision, which includes aims to provide everyone the education they need to succeed in life whilst also ensuring a greener future for residents.

Both projects were procured through the Orbis framework through which Morgan Sindall Construction has now delivered four education projects with Surrey County Council, including Ash Manor School and St Bede’s Secondary School.

At the new Westvale Park Primary Academy, innovative building materials and techniques were used to create a facility with advanced sustainability and wellbeing properties.

The timber-framed, two-form school includes 420 primary places and 30 nursery places and features a dual-use area that can be utilised by the community outside school hours. It was commissioned by the Department for Education under the Free Schools programme and is operated by Aurora Academies Trust.

Morgan Sindall Construction utilised modern methods of construction (MMC) throughout the build. A key MMC aspect of the design is the Streif closed panel structural timber building system, which was manufactured offsite and delivered in sections with pre-installed windows, doors, plasterboard, insulation, external membranes and first fix components such as cables and pipes. The success of this methodology saw the Streif panels specified for the Oakwood School project.

This solution reduced Westvale Park Primary Academy’s construction timetable by more than ten weeks and meant the school benefits from factory-quality installations as well as a high standard of airtightness, energy efficiency, fire resistance, acoustic and durability properties. The energy efficiencies of the system allow the school to meet the Passivhaus standard.

CarboniCa, Morgan Sindall Construction’s whole-life carbon assessment tool, identified that using the Streif system reduced CO2 emissions by 145.2 tonnes and cut down on transportation by a massive 84,000 miles. The system uses timber from sustainably managed forests and has lower embodied carbon levels than steel or concrete alternatives.

Other environmentally friendly aspects incorporated into the building and its grounds, include:

  • 90 solar panels
  • an energy efficient underfloor heating system
  • sustainable drainage under the MUGA pitch
  • a building management system that regulates the school’s energy demand
Oakwood School - design
Oakwood School digital design interpretation
Guy Hannell, area director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “These projects are a great showcase of how new materials and innovative ways of working can be leveraged to create transformative educational facilities that will really benefit the area’s students, residents and even the local environment.

“Alongside creating 600 new secondary, primary and nursery spaces for the town, both of these developments with Surrey County Council highlight how sustainable solutions can provide a wealth of benefits, not only by lowering a site’s carbon footprint during the construction process but by making for a more economical, energy efficient and visually striking building. By taking this approach we’ve been able to rapidly provide new high quality school spaces that will ensure an engaging learning environment for the growing community’s children.”
Tim McCarthy, CEO of Aurora Academies Trust, said: “All of us at Aurora are absolutely thrilled with our new school building. In particular, we would like to thank Morgan Sindall Construction who have worked in partnership with us from the outset to translate our vision for education at Westvale Park into reality through the delivery of a first class, sustainable learning environment.

“The quality of the Streif construction is unbelievably high and our pupils benefit from state-of-the-art classroom facilities, which are set within a building and wider surroundings that are both motivating and awe-inspiring. Our children, parents and staff love the school and we have very high demand for places here. For us, it is a case of onwards and upwards!”
Liz Mills, Director Education and Lifelong Learning at Surrey County Council, said: “I’m delighted that these projects will enable local children in Horley to continue to have the opportunity to learn and grow up in their community. These works are testament to our commitment to ensure that children have a brighter future and receive the education they deserve.”