Temporary Classroom Hire
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Dartington School Case Study

Temporary Classroom Hire: Dartington School Case Study

Organisation : Dartington School

Application : Education

Product : Classrooms

Location : Devon

Requirement :

A 1,200sqm primary school was needed for the relocation of Dartington Primary School to be in use for two years.

 The project had to be delivered in a challenging timescale in time for the start of the new academic year, to accommodate 300 pupils.

Solution :

Working in partnership with architects and project managers, Atkins, Portakabin provided 13 school buildings and three toilet blocks with disabled access.

 The scheme was configured to create a village feel and a welcoming environment for children, with imaginative age and function-related play zones. The teaching spaces are designed to promote the flow of learning and administrative areas were arranged to ensure continuity in the daily running of the school.

 Facilities include:

  • Kitchen fitted out with the school’s own equipment
  • Administrative building with staff room, head teacher’s office, general offices, sick bay, toilets and school reception
  • Music room
  • Pre-school nursery
  • Library
  • 11 classrooms.

 The buildings were constructed in compliance with current Building Regulations and with a design life of at least 60 years. The facilities arrived on site around 80 per cent complete, with partitions, plumbing and electrics pre-installed to reduce lead times.

 All internal fitting out was carried out by Portakabin for a fast and seamless service, and included provision of magnetic white boards for visual learning displays, access ramps, entrance canopies, and security and data communications.

The Project Challenges

  • The project was successfully delivered on time in just 14 weeks and despite exceptionally high levels of rainfall during the programme.
  • The interim school was located on a green field site adjacent to the original school. This was very constrained which made the building installation phase more challenging and required detailed logistical planning. Portakabin also had to create access for the project’s construction.
  • Fast decision making and a high degree of collaborative working with Atkins ensured the project was completed within the short, critical programme and to the very high standards required by the client.

 Teaching Spaces to Respond to Children’s Learning Needs

 Commenting on the project, Jill Mahon, Head Teacher at Dartington Primary School, said, “We are very happy with the buildings. The classrooms respond to the needs of the children and promote the flow of learning. The teaching areas have been configured in clusters to provide learning that is appropriate for each key stage and so that children can interact and learn from and with each other.”

 “The classrooms are light, airy and calming with a friendly, positive feel. Everything on the new site works really well for our school and our style of learning.  Externally the layout of the buildings has been carefully designed so our children can learn outside the classrooms as well as inside. The whole interim school was constructed very easily and the area will be turned back into a field when we move to our permanent school.”

 The Customer Perspective

 Kevin Presland, Principal Architect and Project Manager at Atkins said, “Portakabin offered us the solution which would provide the least possible disruption to the school and I am pleased to report this has been successfully achieved and in a really ambitious timescale.”

 “The buildings are flexible in their design and address the school’s specific requirements. We worked really well in partnership with the Portakabin team to find the optimum building solution and valued their fast and responsive approach to help us meet the urgent need for these facilities.”

 Jill Mahon, Head Teacher, Dartington Primary School, “Parents really are amazed by the quality of the facilities and cannot believe these are interim buildings.  Other teaching professionals who have visited have been equally impressed.”


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