Pupils fit first solar panel to the roof of their new school building
Pupils helped to fit the first solar panel to the roof of the new expansion of Winterstoke Hundred Academy in Locking Parklands on Tuesday, in a ceremony marking another important step forward for the upcoming eco-school.
The school expansion, which is funded by Homes England’s Housing Infrastructure Fund, supports North Somerset Council’s commitment to make North Somerset carbon neutral by 2030. The three-storey building is designed to achieve Net Zero carbon in operation, a much-sought BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating for energy efficiency and a 10% biodiversity net gain, which will protect and promote plants and wildlife.
Year 8 pupil, Romey, said: “The new school looks a lot bigger than where we are now, it’s really exciting to see it,” he continued, “it’s really cool to think that the new building won’t have any bad effects on the environment.”
Councillor Catherine Gibbons, Executive Member for Children, Young People, Lifelong Learning and Skills joined the pupils for the rooftop ceremony. She said: “The expansion of Winterstoke Hundred Academy raises the bar for construction projects in our area, meeting top standards for sustainability as we work to make North Somerset an open, greener and fairer place with opportunities for all.
“When the building opens as a second site for Winterstoke Hundred Academy, there will be up to 900 school places as part of a plan to meet the needs of growing local families. The school will cover all elements of the curriculum but will also use modern classrooms and facilities to focus on how young people can learn and help to tackle the climate challenges we face now and in the future.
“Not only is this new building an investment in future learning – helping young people access the opportunities across our region – it is an investment in our environment, with the first solar panel now fitted to the roof symbolic of our continued commitment to Net Zero.”
Ian Garforth, Principal of Winterstoke Hundred Academy said, “There’s a real sense of excitement in school and in our community as the building now takes shape. The students have been very excited to look around the building and find out more about how it’s been designed and built to the highest environmental standards. We’re very grateful to Kier and to North Somerset Council for their tireless work to get us to this stage, we can’t wait to move in in September!”
Jason Taylor, regional director at Kier Construction Western & Wales, said: “I am thrilled that we have reached this important milestone on this project, and to be marking it by placing the first of many solar panels on the school’s roof – echoing our commitment to producing sustainable buildings for the future.
“North Somerset Council and Cabot Learning Foundation have a vision to provide sustainable educational buildings. We share their vision and passion, and through our commitments at Kier, we are creating a new net zero building with clear environmental benefits as well as offer employment and training opportunities to the local community as part of our social value commitments.
“Once complete, this school will be a really fantastic asset to the area and will provide a truly state-of-the-art learning facilities and opportunities to those students attending now and for decades to come.”
Kingsley Clarke, Operations Lead for the Southern Construction Framework, added: “SCF aspire to create truly integrated contractor, consultant and client teams in order to deliver outstanding projects. This project is the perfect example of the whole integrated team working together to create something exceptional. Not only will this be a fantastic learning environment but the commitment to creating a Net Zero building and delivering 10% biodiversity net gain will deliver for our next generations on so many levels.”
When completed, the expansion of Winterstoke Hundred Academy will provide school places to pupils aged 11-19. The facilities include sports pitches that also will be available for the local community to use, as well as bike storage and routes to school to encourage walking, cycling and sustainable travel.
The new school expansion is expected to open at the start of the 2023/24 school term. To find out more about the project visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/WHAE