Two new schools for pupils with learning and other difficulties have been built in County Durham, featuring extensive use of Ecophon ceiling systems. They were specified for their excellent acoustic characteristics and other performance benefits.

The Warwick Road Special Needs School in Bishop Auckland and the Whitworth Special Needs School at Spennymoor have both been designed by Niven Architects of Darlington. They are almost identical in layout.

The importance of good acoustics in the teaching environment is being increasingly recognised, not just for those with hearing impairment or other attention problems, but also for the benefit of the wider student population. The performance specification for schools like Spennymoor and Bishop Auckland is particularly demanding.

The Project Director for Niven Architects, Mr Ian Scott, comments: “Because these schools were for special needs provision, the reverberation time needed to be 0.4 seconds or below. That is far more onerous than you would need in general teaching classrooms so we had to get the acoustics right. Ecophon’s Technical Representative put the Advantage tile forward as being more than capable of achieving the required performance figures.”

Both schools were completed in time for the start of the new school year in September 2005 with installation undertaken by Titan Ceilings Limited of Masborough near Rotherham. This contractor is a partner in the EPIC (Ecophon Partnership in Contracting) scheme. This initiative, involving only experienced and fully trained ceiling system installers, was set up by Ecophon to ensure all projects are carried out successfully from start to finish.

Now into the second term, the acoustic performance of the ceilings has been to the expected level with no reports of any problems. Throughout the new establishments at Spennymoor and Bishop Auckland, Ecophon’s Advantage tiles have been employed in conjunction with the AT24 exposed grid system to create soffits with an attractive appearance. This design also offers low maintenance and accessibility. The tiles selected made installation straightforward and they are installed around each of the schools, located in classrooms, corridors and communal areas as well as administrative offices.

There are currently no comments for this article.

Login to comment. slider