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New free school under construction in Reading

Maiden Erlegh School will provide up to 900 places and generate at least 20% of energy through renewable sources

Posted by Stephanie Broad | August 11, 2016 | Facilities & buildings

A new £15 million secondary free school is currently under construction in Reading.

Designed by architect Stride Treglown, the new Maiden Erlegh School will ease demand on its sister site, with the same name, which last year saw more than 800 applicants for 280 places. The building will provide a much-needed educational facility for some 900 students between the ages 11-16. The first intake of year seven students are currently housed in temporary classrooms while the new school, due to open in phases from September this year, is constructed around them.

LJJ is responsible for a £2.8 million design and build mechanical and electrical package for main contractor Kier Construction. The project has been designed to achieve a BREEAM Very Good rating and includes a commitment to generate at least 20% of energy demands through renewable sources. This has been achieved through a combination of a CHP (combined heat and power) plant and a rooftop-mounted solar photovoltaic array.

A packaged plant room, will be prefabricated offsite and craned onto the roof once on site. This achieves significant time savings over a conventional approach and can be assembled under factory conditions to ensure the highest standards. The plant room contains the CHP unit, seven gas-fired heat-only boilers and a buffer vessel for the CHP plant. The 22 kW CHP unit acts as the primary heat source, with boilers providing back-up. The CHP plant also supplies heat interface units on the domestic hot water supply.

Energy savings have been a major consideration throughout. Fresh air supplies include heat recovery units, such as the six roof-mounted natural ventilation terminal units and the 52 window-mounted units for classroom areas. Heat pump air conditioning units supply high heat load areas such as the ICT and server rooms.

The electrical package includes the 12.75 kW solar PV array on the roof to contribute to the BREEAM rating. Low energy LED and T5 lamps and lighting control also play a part in the green approach. LJJ is responsible for fire alarms, access control, video intercom, induction loops, security systems and disabled alarms.

The new facility in Reading’s Crescent Road is run by The Maiden Erlegh Trust and has been funded by the government's Education Funding Agency. Peter Thomas, head teacher and Trust chief executive, said: “I am confident that Maiden Erlegh School in Reading will provide a first class education to our students, just as our school in Earley has done for the last 50 years. We are creating a brand new 21st century secondary school for the community, which will make an enormous difference to the lives of local children and will be a valuable community asset for local families.”

The Sports Hall will be handed over for use when the new intake starts in September 2016, with practical completion on the remaining facilities due in the middle of November.

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