Buro Happold leads the way

Buro Happold has been appointed as the engineering consultant for the Barnsley Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. This follows the BSF experience already built up by the international multi disciplinary engineers, delivering a number of award winning educational facilities in Bristol.

BSF is being rolled out nationally and sees the largest government investment in improving schools for over 50 years. Barnsley has been chosen as one of the first areas to benefit from the Government’s plans which are to replace the town’s 13 existing secondary schools with nine Advanced Learning Centres (ALC).

Working in collaboration with a number of architectural practices, Buro Happold’s aim is to design a series of ALCs with a reduced carbon footprint equating to 60% for a similar building. This will be achieved by incorporating technologies such as biomass boilers, solar panels and wind turbines into the design of each scheme. In addition and in order to make the best use of educational IT infrastructure, both now and in the future, all the buildings will feature the latest IT technologies throughout.

David Beck, an associate director at Buro Happold, commented: “Working with different architects has created some very different approaches to each of the schools. However, the engineering solutions are the common denominator that underpins all the schemes”.

To ensure that the new ALCs do not place unreasonable demands on existing infrastructure such as the public drainage system, sustainable features such as rainwater recycling and Sustainable Urban Drainage Schemes (SUDS) will be built into the designs. These processes aim to re-use rainwater on site and drain any excess into the systems in a controlled manner.

The £1.1 billion investment programme is also a tremendous opportunity to raise educational standards and improve prospects for young people, whilst the construction process will provide valuable learning opportunities for the pupils. Buro Happold has used this method successfully on previous jobs including some of the first Bristol BSF schools engaging with students to help them understand sustainability in the built environment and what part we as individuals can play.

The first Barnsley BSF Advanced Learning Centres are expected to open in autumn 2010.

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