Reflecting Fife Council’s ambition to be the greenest council in Scotland, Morgan Sindall delivered the first BREEAM Outstanding primary school in the UK.
The school accommodates 354 pupils across seven primary levels, with two purpose-built Additional Support Needs classrooms with back-up support rooms. The new school supports the Scottish ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ initiative, which requires the building and landscape to form part of the learning environment. All classrooms have a natural flow into outdoor areas defined by pergolas, while the playgrounds are landscaped in differing styles. These range from small bright infant areas through to active play courtyards and, for senior pupils, contemplative and private areas to prepare them for the transition into secondary education. The place spaces are intertwined with activity trails which lead pupils through eco-ponds and nature trails with interventions for fire pits and storytelling.
The children and teachers were involved with the project throughout the design and build processes, and have been tasked, following discussions with the school, to further develop the landscape and wildlife environments.
The school’s BREEAM Outstanding status was secured through collaborative development with Fife Council and the implementation of a number of eco-technologies including:
- A 15 kW wind turbine providing power for all the classroom lighting and computers
- A combined heat and power system generating electricity from gas
- Air source heat pumps, powered by electricity from the heat and power system, extract heat from outside air and distribute it around the school through an under-floor heating system
- A rainwater harvesting system which can collect up to 45,000 litres of rainwater from the school’s roof, which is used to flush toilets
One of the main reasons why Morgan Sindall was able to create a school to the highest standards of sustainability was due to the procurement model used by Fife Council. The brief for the school was unusual in two ways: first the emphasis was on quality rather than cost, and second the bid came without a design. This provided a blank canvas for Morgan Sindall to develop innovative design solutions, and meant that sustainability could be considered for every aspect of the school from the materials used, to the carbon used in construction, to the energy use of completed buildings.
- The key challenge of this project was developing a design that realised the Council’s vision. At tender stage, Fife Council had a brief, a budget and green aspirations. Our team worked tirelessly with the Council to ensure that their vision was realised, culminating in the BREEAM Outstanding award
- In line with the Council’s environmental aspirations, we had to be mindful of the topography of the site. Accordingly the school was engineered to be sympathetic to the existing landscape, reducing the requirement for excavation and increasing the aesthetic quality of the building
“The Morgan Sindall team responded to a demanding brief set by the Authority and used the topography of the selected site as the basis of their design proposals rather than an engineered solution. They took the sustainability requirements of the project very seriously and rose to the challenge of our required BREEAM rating. Engagement with stakeholders was first class.” Alistair Drummond
Project Manager Fife Council
Morgan Sindall Professional Services