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Pimperne Primary School

The project and background

Pimperne Primary School is a Church of England Voluntary Controlled school which caters for children in the 5 to 11 age range. It was established as a 175 place school in September 2005 in the premises of the former Pimperne CE VC First School, following the review of education provision across the Blandford area.  A study identified that the existing school buildings could not be extended or replaced on the existing site to accommodate the two additional year groups that the school took from September 2005.  As a result, the school has now been replaced on a new site.

The new school building has been built to current standards and with appropriate facilities in order to support the delivery of a modern curriculum.  The new school now accommodates approximately 175 pupils, aged 5 to 11, in a single storey building consisting of:

  • six classrooms
  • a learning resource centre
  • a Hall
  • headteacher's office
  • staff room, group room and sickbay
  • an area for special education needs
  • a community space
  • toilets/changing rooms
  • ancillary accommodation
  • external hard play, soft play and parking.

Enabling works started in November 2013 and were completed in May 2014.  The main contract works were started in June 2014 and completed in April 2015.

Project progress in pictures

View photographs of the construction in progress at Pimperne Primary School on the flickr photostream.

The design

The new school is situated on the edge of the village of Pimperne on agricultural land adjacent the Village Hall and has been designed to minimise the landscape and visual impact of the proposals. The layout of the school allows Key Stage 1 classrooms to have direct access onto their separate external playing area and Key Stage 2 classrooms to look out across the open fields.

The south facing public side has limited openings, minimising any impact on the amenity of any nearby properties. The location of the double height hall is on the lowest part of the site to help minimise visual impact. The reception area, Headteacher's office and staff rooms have views over the entrance area.

The main materials used in the construction includes brick and flint as a direct reference to the walls in and around the village. Constructing the school using the local brick has achieved continuity of materials throughout the village. Brick also provides a thermal mass for the school, which will contribute towards the environmental performance of the building.  Timber cladding is a modern interpretation of a traditional countryside form and is used to help the building blend into the landscape. In addition, as the wood ages and weathers it will soften the appearance of the building.  The monopitch roofs to the two teaching blocks and the hall include sedum planted areas. This will add visual interest, help the building blend into the landscape and generally enhance the appearance of the building when viewed from the surrounding area.

The design and access

The building has been designed to minimise the landscape and visual impact and to ensure that the building and external areas are accessible to all in accordance with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). The single storey layout, simple circulation system and level access means that the building is easily and safely accessible.  An access road into the site is provided with turning area and bus waiting bay. Fourteen car parking spaces, plus one disabled bay are provided for staff and visitors.

It is intended to encourage walking and cycling through the provision of a new footway for pedestrians along the southern edge of the village hall car park and the public play space and appropriate crossing points within the school site. This ensures that pedestrian and vehicular traffic is segregated as far as possible.

The design and sustainability

The project included the following sustainable design solutions:

  • a highly thermally efficient structure
  • a sedum roof
  • the incorporation of renewal energy systems
  • the provision of energy efficient plant and equipment
  • efficient artificial lighting and controls
  • high level clerestory windows facing south and east, forming part of the natural day lighting and ventilation strategy.

External works and landscape

Hard landscaping for access, play areas and parking have been kept as far south on the site as possible, limiting the extent of works away from the village and into the countryside.  Planting was chosen to include locally prevalent spaces in order to remain in character with the local area and selected for its potential to educate, to demonstrate seasonal variance and ecological value.

The educational landscape includes an ecology area, a vegetable growing area, an orchard, a log pile 'bug hotel' area and native species hedges with occasional trees and copses and an outdoor amphitheatre style classroom.  The sports and play features include a full size junior pitch, a three court Multi Use Games Area (MUGA), and a play structure in the key stage 2 playground.

The design team and main constructor

The replacement Pimperne Primary School project was procured and project managed by Dorset County Council's Dorset Property.  The principal members of the design team and main constructor were as follows:

  • Client: The Asset Management Group for Cabinet, represented by the Director for Children's Services
  • Project manager: Dorset Property
  • Lead designer and project architect: Dorset Property
  • Scheme development to planning design: Terence O'Rouke
  • Cost consultant: Dorset Property
  • Mechanical engineer: Dorset Property
  • Electrical engineer: Dorset Property
  • Landscape architect: Dorset Property
  • Structural and civil engineer: Roughton
  • CDM co-ordinator: DBK
  • Highways alterations:  Dorset Highways
  • Clerk of works: Dorset Property
  • Main constructor: ISG Plc

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