In recent years, Alford Academy has struggled to accommodate its large yearly intake of new pupils. With existing campus capacity at its limit, a £37 million contract was devised by Aberdeenshire County Council, in partnership with hub North and the Scottish Futures Trust, to create the school’s new Community Campus. The new site accommodates 960 pupils and has brought together the primary, secondary and senior years on a single site next door to the original school building, as well as providing sport and leisure facilities for the wider community.
Main contractor Morrison Construction appointed Glassolutions to provide glazing solutions for the building. The goal was to help create an optimal learning environment for students, choosing glazing products carefully to create a space with excellent temperature control, effective ventilation and plentiful natural light. The concept for the Community Campus was based around the creation of large light and airy spaces, forming a central social hub for students. The spaces are two storeys high, allowing areas to be used flexibly for a variety of purposes as well as letting in a large amount of natural light.
The initial planning application for the development of Alford Community Campus was submitted in April 2013; work began in June the same year, and the building was finished in time for students to return after the 2015 October half term.
In order to create a safe, light, well-ventilated space for students, Glassolutions selected Metal Technology’s System 17 High Rise curtain walling system to form the building’s envelope. With a continuous thermal isolator providing a thermal break throughout, paired with thermally broken casement windows from Metal Technology’s System 4-20 range, the low U-value of this configuration provides excellent thermal efficiency, maintaining a comfortable internal temperature for students and minimising the need for climate control. Large glass units were chosen for the project to maximise light transmittance and provide a bright interior.
Responses to the new Alford Community Campus have been overwhelmingly positive; the development has been praised for its light, airy interior and how well it has accommodated the needs of the students and wider community.
Jim Hanna, project director at Morrison Construction, said: “Working with our partners and suppliers, the Campus was finished ahead of the coming academic term… We are immensely proud to have been involved in bringing this fantastic new resource to fruition for the local community.”
The completed project has also been praised more widely by the construction industry. The development, along with project managers hub North, has named as a finalist for the Community Development Project of the Year award at the Scottish Property Awards 2016.