New sustainable school in Orkney opened

New sustainable school in Orkney opened

Leading architectural practice Keppie Design and Morrison Construction have completed and handed over Stromness Primary School in Orkney as part of the Orkney Islands Schools Investment Programme. 

Designed by Keppie and built by Morrison Construction, Stromness Primary School will provide modern and sustainable learning facilities for 200 pupils and also includes a 30-pupil nursery and community resource.

The school’s appearance is intended to be a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Stromness vernacular and is achieved by arranging a series of gable ends facing towards Hamnavoe.  The project team were also able to use locally sourced materials in a nod to the school’s roots and to ensure an ‘Orkney feel’ was created. 

The new school, which extends to 2,460 sq m, achieves an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating, accomplished through incorporating renewable energy, natural ventilation, natural daylight, a reduced solar glare, improved bio-diversity and green travel arrangements for staff and pupils.  It is located on a brownfield site to the north of Stromness with outstanding views over Hamnavoe. 

Peter Moran, director at Keppie Design, which also provided landscape and interior design services for the project, commented, “One of the main design features of the new facility is the physical linking of the nursery to the primary school and the incorporation of internal breakout spaces that can be utilised by surrounding classrooms, increasing their flexibility.

“We designed the break-out spaces and activity areas to maximise movement and allow for varying sizes of activities. The teaching clusters, nursery and administrative areas were carefully planned so they can be closed off from the multi-purpose hall, dining and associated facilities to provide an independent community use facility in the evenings.

“Both the project team, and more importantly the school’s pupils and staff, were very pleased with the finished result.”

Ronnie Bruce, Morrison Construction’s project director for Orkney Schools, said, “The co-operation, goodwill and ingenuity demonstrated by the entire project team, coupled with the response elicited from the community, achieved a highly successful outcome. Together we have created an environment where pupils can thrive both inside and outside the classroom.”

As part of the Orkney Islands Schools Investment Programme, a number of new facilities are being created in addition to Stromness Primary School. These include a new Kirkwall Grammar School complete with a community arts theatre, a new Papdale Halls of Residence providing residential accommodation for pupils who travel from remote islands to attend the school, and a new swimming pool, squash courts and all-weather pitches at the Pickaquoy Centre in Kirkwall.

Ben Crowther
Ben Crowther