New ƒ?‚¢??Yorkonƒ?‚¢?? Primary opens to meet the severe shortage of school places

Yorkon RiversideRiversideSchoolis the third Yorkon project to be completed by the Portakabin Group for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Council, working with delivery partner Cornerstone Property Assets. This follows the successful delivery of additional classrooms atTrinitySchool andRobertClackSchool.

David Laws, Minister of State for Schools, recently announced that 417,000 extra school places in England are urgently required by 2015 following demographic changes (source: Targeted capital funding for new school places, gov.uk).  Barking and Dagenham has one of the fastest-growing school-age populations in the country and this latest project will help to address the issue.

Designed by Surface to Air Architects, the two-storey primary school is located on the site of a former city farm, and is the first stage of a complex three-stage project. The scheme has been built as a three-form entry primary school, but the Yorkon building system is sufficiently flexible to enable it to be used initially as a secondary school, pending its move to a permanent site.

Phase two will revert the building back to a primary school and will include full landscaping, and construction of a multi-use games area, football pitch, flood lighting and further play areas. The final stage will accommodate a change to a five-form entry primary school, which will see the scheme doubling in size, with a sports hall linking the two buildings.

The Portakabin Group’s Yorkon building system has reduced the number of steel-framed modules by half, to only 48 18m long units, and was handed over just 14 weeks after the building arrived on site. This solution was a more flexible alternative for the Council because it allows the space to be easily reconfigured to meet the needs of both a primary and a secondary school, helping it to quickly respond to the urgent demand for places. Each module was delivered with a high performance concrete floor already in place providing a robust finish for a demanding education environment.

Commenting on the project, Andrew Roberts, Head of Riverside School said, “We are really impressed with the finished building. It definitely exceeded our expectations and feels incredibly solid and robust. The classrooms are spacious and bright, and the corridors are very wide so there is no need to ask students to keep to one side when going to and from lessons. We particularly like the lovely vibrant design on the outside of the building, which reflects different colours throughout the day and makes the building feel very welcoming.”

“Overall, we are very proud of our new school building and when it reverts to a primary school, the Yorkon building system will allow us to increase capacity really easily with much less disruption to teaching.”

Tim Byles, Chief Executive for delivery partner, Cornerstone Property Assets, said, “Yorkon offers a best-in-class solution to the crisis in pupil places that is challenging local authorities right across the country. To be able to establish a brand new, high quality school within such a short time frame, and on budget is no small achievement, and we were delighted to play our part in helpingRiversideSchoolbecome part of the local education landscape.”

Cllr John White, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said, “The Portakabin Group has brought all the key ingredients of a flexible building system to meet our growing need of school places; speed of construction to get the school up and running quickly, strength and longevity to meet the demands of a school site and best value for money.”

“We look forward to the developments over the coming months as our borough continues to invest wisely to create much needed school places and improve the standard of education for all our young people.”

Externally, the building is finished in bronze, blue, green and grey, creating a strong identity for the new school. The campus will also include a car park, cycle store and fenced outside playing area. Facilities include 22 classrooms, configured as science laboratories, art and technology rooms and general classrooms; an ICT room, library, staff room, administrative areas, toilets, full catering kitchen, and a music room with acoustic protection.

The Yorkon building system offers the widest range of module sizes currently available from any off-site manufacturer in the UK, giving building designers, contractors and occupiers the benefit of thousands of configurations and permutations for the ultimate in design flexibility and to meet almost any building footprint.