Mendip Free School

Pupils at the Mendip Free School are now enjoying a brand new school with excellent facilities thanks to creative engineering by Clarkebond which resolved a wide range of challenges within a tight budget!

Working with contractor Sir Robert McAlpine, architect DKA and mechanical and electrical engineer McCann and Partners, Clarkebond provided civil, structural, geotechnical and infrastructure engineering services for the Mendip Free School, located in the new Enterprise Area on the Bath and West Showground.

The site presented Clarkebond’s engineers with a number of challenges as the school and external areas were required to be level but the site sloped by five metres from front to back with a high rock head. Clarkebond therefore modelled the site and the underlying limestone rock contours to determine the optimum level for the new school and the volumes of topsoil, subsoil and solid rock to be handled.

The budget was extremely tight as special needs schools require more floor area per pupil than usual and a disproportionate part of the budget was to be dedicated to the internal fit out. A cost effective and quickly buildable solution was therefore needed with maximum flexibility to allow for classroom layout changes in the future.

Clakebond’s steel framed solution enabled the structure to be quickly sheeted to provide weather protection for following trades. The foundations were reinforced concrete strips of minimum depth to minimise excavations into rock and control any differential movement. All wet trades were eliminated both inside and outside the building to save time and to avoid the need for specialist labour.

The Mendip School provides 120 places for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder or Speech, Language and Communication Needs. Facilities include 19 classrooms, sports hall, staff rooms, kitchen, science and technology areas, library, wet rooms and future proofed drainage to allow for the future potential of a swimming pool.

Clarkebond also provided infrastructure design services for the whole Bath and West Showground site redevelopment including roads, drainage, services and off-site highways improvements.