Education: West Calder High School, West Lothian

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Education School goes for steel option Set to replace an existing school in a nearby village, the West Calder High School has opted for a steel framing solution for cost and efficiency. Martin Cooper reports. 16 NSC June 17 Work is progressing on a new 1,100 capacity secondary school in the West Lothian village of West Calder. The project will replace a nearby existing school and includes a host of amenities such as a swimming pool and other indoor and outdoor sports facilities. The school is West Lothian Council’s largest ever single investment in education. It is being developed through Hub South East Scotland, with Morrison Construction appointed to build the new school. Due to open in 2018, the project architects say the school has been designed with the pupil experience at the core, as well as providing facilities accessible to the local community. The swimming pool, fitness suite, games hall and outdoor sports pitches will be open to the public at certain times, as will the amphitheatre, which is a feature that forms an integral part of the school’s overall design. The multi-use amphitheatre is positioned in the centre of the school with the classrooms located around the perimeter, while more flexible learning space is located in nearby main circulation areas. As well as the amphitheatre, most of the school’s facilities, such as the pool, games hall and dining area, are all located within large column-free spaces. Consequently, their buildability was one of the main reasons for choosing a steel framing solution for the project. “Early in the design process we looked at all framing options, weighing up their pros and cons. Ultimately to build the required long spans efficiently and quickly we went with a steel-framed solution,” says Arup Lead Project Engineer Ian Miller. However, before any of the structure could be built, access to the project’s site had to be improved. During the early stages of the job’s 91-week programme, a narrow local road, passing a number of private properties was used. Construction of a new £5.5M bridge over the A71 and a link road has now provided the site with a haul route for materials. Preliminary works also included Morrison undertaking ten weeks of grouting up of old mine workings that run beneath the site. Once the bridge was in place, Hescott Engineering was able to begin its steel FACT FILE West Calder High School, West Lothian Main Client: Hub South East Scotland on behalf of West Lothian Council Architect: Archial NORR Main contractor: Morrison Construction Structural engineer: Arup Steelwork Contractor: Hescott Engineering Steel tonnage: 800t The steel frame model of the school


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