Nelson school shortlisted for design award

The great look of the new Whitefield Infant School and Nursery (S)
The great look of the new Whitefield Infant School and Nursery (S)

A rebuilt Nelson school son has been shortlisted for a national award.

Whitefield Infant School and Nursery – with more places available and upgraded facilities – is a finalist in the Society for Public Architecture, Construction, Engineering and Surveying “Civic Building of the Year” competition.

The outside scene of Whitefield Infant School and Nursery  (S)

The outside scene of Whitefield Infant School and Nursery (S)

The national competition, now in its 13th year, rewards excellence in design and construction and recognises the role that clients, designers and builders have played in the creation.

County Coun. Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “I’m so impressed by the quality of the new school and the superb teaching environment it creates for the pupils.

“The old school was located close by on the other side of the canal. Unfortunately it needed updating and hadn’t got the places available that were required for the growing population. The decision was made that a school with better facilities and places available to meet the growing demand would be the most efficient way forward.

“A site nearby was chosen, but there were many issues with it that we had to sort out first. The site sloped and it was crossed by a sewer network. Also some unoccupied houses had to be demolished to make the area big enough.

“Consideration of the local environment has been extremely important with this new build, not least because it is in the centre of a conservation area. Building materials were chosen that matched the stone and slate of the surrounding terraced houses.

“The building steps down with the slope of the hillside and the school offices were located on street level with the classrooms lower. The classrooms have a lovely view of the canal and have separate entrances so that infant and nursery children can access the building at different times.

“Each classroom is in its own gabled building. Each class also has private access to the playground meaning that activities that support the outdoor curriculum can be easily achieved.

“Congratulations to everyone who has played a part in this. Such a fantastic learning environment has been made for our children.”

The building was designed in-house by Lancashire County Council’s Design and Construction team.

The Awards Ceremony will take place on Friday in Bristol.

Eleven other projects have been shortlisted for the award. Each of them has been visited by two representatives of an assessment panel who also talked to users of the facility.