Sustainable school buildings with a green heart

Green and sustainable features are a significant part of the planned extension to St. Wilfrid’s RC College, in South Shields.

Planning permission was granted in March to proceed with plans to build a £1.43m extension to the existing school building, providing six new classrooms, extra dining space along with some ancillary storage and WCs.

The school, part of the Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust (BCCET), is an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ school and as a result is often over-subscribed for pupil places.

The trust recruited a local professional team to develop the building, led by project management consultancy Faithful+Gould. The team includes Newcastle architecture firm SPACE, which has worked alongside Jasper Kerr & Link MEP.

Brendan Tapping, CEO of BCCET, noted:“Everyone agreed at the outset that we should aspire for a building that would reduce demand for energy and make more efficient use of renewables, to not just save money but also reduce our carbon footprint and do our small part, as we all face the global climate emergency.”

The new extension at St. Wilfrid’s will incorporate sustainable elements to reduce carbon use, including the incorporation of solar panels, air source heat pumps, Brise Soleil solar shading, efficient lighting and a mixed mode ventilation system.

In addition to this, the team is looking to enhance biodiversity through the provision of a wildflower roof and attenuation pond, which not only provides a sustainable drainage solution, but will also act as an educational resource.

Chris Holmes, director at Space, explained:“We had to look at the existing buildings and accommodation and review how we could creatively configure a new extension on a very tight site. We always try to create buildings that will make a positive impact both to the end user and also the wider community and environment.”

Frances Craik, executive head at St Wilfrid’s, added:“It’s a relatively small extension but a lot of care and thought has gone into its design. The project team have really listened to our aspirations and shown great invention. We are delighted with the proposals, which we hope will provide a fantastic facility for our pupils now and in the future.”

Lawrence Inkster, director at Fauthful+Gould, confirmed:"We are delighted to be working closely with BCCET, our passion as a team is to provide an outstanding school facility that will deliver a sustainable future for the community and offer the children of St. Wilfrid's the best chance at academic achievement."

Previous issues with drainage and localised flooding meant a focus on the development of an attenuation system. This will result in the creation of a pond, near to the Memorial Garden.

A building contractor has yet to be appointed for work to start on site sometime after May.

St. Wilfrid’s has received government financial support, via the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF), to expand current provision.