St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Cornwall

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Cornwall

Client: St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Cornwall
Architect: RLT Architects
Main Contractor: Scrace & Co
Sub Contractor: Clegg & Shortman
Type of works: supply of Steni cladding panels

Three half-matt standard colours of Steni cladding panels were specified by RLT Architects for an extension to a Cornish primary school for a trio of reasons – aesthetics, cost-effectiveness and performance.

More than 30m2 of Steni’s fibreglass reinforced polymer composite colour panels, with a smooth surface of electron beam cured acrylic (cured without the use of solvents) in white and light and dark blue have been installed in horizontal strips by subcontractor Clegg & Shortman roofers for main contractor Scrace & Co on the £300,000 extension.

The extension has enabled St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Falmouth to move students’ music lessons from the staff room or headteacher’s office to a dedicated room and enlarge the staff room and headteacher’s rooms as well as improve the building’s thermal performance.

The original school was built in the 1960s and was performing poorly thermally, with minimal insulation and over-glazing on the south side. Part of the project’s aims was to improve the thermal performance of the external envelope by creating a wraparound extension that would overcome these issues as well as provide new accommodation.

RLT Architects has worked with Plymouth Roman Catholic Diocese, which looks after St Mary’s, on their various school assets in Cornwall and parts of Devon for more than 15 years but they had not used Steni products before. The success of this project means they will be again. The Steni cladding provides a strong visual impact, announces the school entrance and provides a contemporary feel to relieve what is fundamentally a brick-faced building.

As it was impossible to match the earlier brickwork, the use of the cladding separated the new and existing brick visually. This avoided the problem, of having differing brickwork appearing close together.

Company director Danny Cooper said: “The new extension gave an opportunity to improve the entrance and to provide some focus to this by the use of a coloured horizontal cladding in the school colours. The wide range of colours available through Steni enabled us to select exactly what we needed without resorting to a special order. As this area of cladding was relatively small, we were also looking for a solution where fullsize cladding sheets could be costeffectively cut on site into strips of the various dimensions needed so no waste was generated and integrated into an aluminium support system. We were able to speak to Steni’s technical department regards the supply lead times and technical matters of on-site cutting, together with the aluminium carrier system. This enabled technical matters to be resolved well before the construction. The cladding colour choice answered the need to work with the school colours and the rainscreen cladding/support system dealt with water proofing. was the first time we had used Steni product and we have been very pleased with the end result. We will specify again and are pleased to have found a system that will be financially viable for smaller projects.”

Headteacher Jacqui Scarborough said: “The fact that we will be able to reduce our carbon footprint is very important to us.”

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