East Lothian Nurseries

To meet the 1,140 hours Early Learning and Childcare expansion in Musselburgh, Prestonpans and West Barns, three existing Primary Schools were extended and refurbished with bespoke design solutions to provide new nursery facilities along with enhancements to existing facilities.

Date

2023

Client

East Lothian Council

Value

£6m

The East Lothian Primary School extension and refurbishment programme involved the extension and refurbishment of three existing East Lothian Primary Schools: Pinkie St Peter’s Primary School, St Gabriel’s Primary School, and West Barns Primary School. A consistent design language and construction methodology was adopted for the three projects to deliver construction and design efficiencies although each extension was treated as a standalone project with bespoke layout, elevation, and interior solutions.

At Pinkie St Peter’s a new extension was created to provide a stand-alone nursery which, while now with its own secure main entrance, maintains a connection to the existing school. A new Sportscotland compliant 2 court Games Hall extension was also added to serve the whole school, freeing up the existing hall for other uses. This room is flooded with natural light via two large triple glazed frosted cast glass screens with birch faced perforated plywood panels providing both a robust finish and high levels of acoustic attenuation. Refurbishment was also carried out to parts of the existing building including upgrading the windows to 10 classrooms improving the acoustic and thermal performance of these rooms.1

A similar nursery extension was added to the existing West Barns Primary School while at St Gabriel’s the expansion of the existing nursery within the footprint of the existing building was facilitated by a new 2 classroom extension to the Primary School.

The works to each school have been designed to meet the Scottish Government’s 1,140 hours requirement for increased nursery provision and the Scottish Government exemplar guidance, therefore providing a high quality indoor and outdoor play and learning environment. Internally the playrooms to the new build extensions have vaulted acoustic ceilings, with at Pinkie St Peters access to a fire floor mezzanine room is via a spiral stair that surrounds a circular drum accommodating a quiet room. The result is nursery playrooms with a number of varyingly interesting, nurturing and calm spaces. Externally Pinkie St Peter’s and West Barns Primary Schools have covered canopies and an enclosed, natural, and interactive outdoors play garden. Easy and direct access is provided between the playrooms and the gardens via the covered outdoor spaces via large sliding glazed screens.

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The Challenge

Resolving the complexity of tying new build extensions into existing buildings from multiple different eras and construction methods while creating forward looking spaces of a high architectural quality meeting the latest educational requirements.

The Solution

Extensions were created to tie in with the context and scale of the existing buildings which afforded the opportunity to create architecturally interesting internal spaces that enhance the learning environment of the pupils both internally and externally by direct and easy connection with the landscaped outdoor play area.

The Outcome

Relocating the existing nursery areas at West Barns and Pinkie St Peters into new build extensions has enhanced the nursery security, play provision and quality of internal and external spaces available to the nursery pupils.

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