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Sheffield’s Building Schools for the Future programme

Sheffield’s Building Schools for the Future programme

Client: Sheffield’s Building Schools for the Future programme
Type of works: supplied four shades of cladding panels.

Four shades of cladding panels from Steni UK are proving a colourful new home for the first intake of students to a redeveloped personalised learning centre that is part of Sheffield’s Building Schools for the Future programme.

HLM architects specified the Steni Colour panels of fibreglass reinforced polymer composite, with a smooth surface of 100% acrylic that is electron beam cured without the use of solvents, in matt green, blue, grey and yellow.

Fixed horizontally with staggered joints by specialist sub-contractor Rooksby Roofing, the 450²m of cladding acts as a rainscreen above brickwork on the upper storey of the façade but also features on the soffits and link bridge of the new extension to the £5.7million Personalised Learning Centre on Spring Lane, Sheffield.

The new centre brings together two teaching and learning centres - the Transition Centre for Year 7 to 9 students at risk of permanent exclusion who require short-term intervention and the Graduation Centre for Year 10 and 11 students at risk of disengagement from mainstream schooling and positive post 16 destinations, with a Hospital and Home Education Service suite to sit alongside these facilities.

The centre is designed to ensure the school will have buildings and facilities which will be suitable for current and future educational best practice.

HLM’s brief was to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere and an inspiring and enjoyable place to learn and teach but a key area of consideration when selecting materials was robustness to minimise maintenance, reduce risk of abuse and ensure it is a secure building without feeling institutional.

The new, 625²m steel framed, flat-roofed extension to the north of the former Spring Lane College forms a modern “fun” frontage to the facility and aims to provide a new identity to the school, with its elevational design of Steni panels intended to support the school’s aim for a wow factor entrance to the 2.85-acre site in one of the top 10% nationally ranked wards of multiple deprivation.

The new extension is clearly visible from the approach off a main arterial route into Sheffield city centre and will hopefully act as a focal point in the regeneration and development of the area as a whole.

HLM, who had not used Steni panels before but discovered them at the BSEC exhibition in Manchester, specified them primarily for their range of standard colours - 44 as well as almost any special colour from the NCS-, RAL- or BS- colour system in addition to two other finishes – half-matt and high-gloss – and two thicknesses. Those for the personalised learning centre were supplied by Sheffield Insulations.

The appearance of the building will change throughout the day and across the seasons as light levels, weather conditions and vegetation change. During the winter months when the trees to the Spring Lane boundary lose their leaves, the new building will provide a much needed burst of colour and vibrancy to the approach route.

Rooksby Roofing worked to drawings by Cladding Connexions for main contractor Vinci Construction UK and Sheffield City Council’s Children and Young People’s Services. As well as the new Steni-clad extension, a 1930s two-storey block with pitched roof was refurbished.

Cladding construction manager for Rooksby, Chris Utting said: “The project was challenging in respect of the formation of the colour scheme the architect wanted to achieve to give a striking appearance which will be a talking point against the background of the original building. The Steni products performed well, with panels easy to cut, drill and install.”

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