TAKING THE DIN OUT OF SCHOOL DINNERS

Everyone involved with the Government’s school construction programme will have heard of Building Bulletin 93 and will understand the importance that educationalists put on good acoustics in the teaching environment. For those who work in the country’s older schools it is not always the classroom where the problem of noise is most noticeable. At Wren’s Nest Primary School in Dudley, West Midlands, for instance, it was the school hall, where lunchtime meals are served, that the problem of noise manifested itself. The cacophony of noise which erupted at meal times, even made life difficult for those in the other rooms nearby. Lining the ceiling to the main hall using Ecophon’s Super G tiles has, however, alleviated the situation to such an extent that even the children notice the difference.

The school was formed from the amalgamation of an infant and a primary school built on the site back in 1938. With the addition of the Children’s Centre, Wren’s Nest now covers age groups from six weeks up to 11 years. This means that at lunchtime over 350 children go through the main hall for their meals and the resultant noise was one of the main things Head teacher, Ruth Wylie, wanted to address.

The school previously had experience of an acoustic material that had been fitted within the Children’s Centre reception class where two old rooms with high ceilings had been knocked into one. The straw boards fitted had some effect but the school is still likely to put in a suspended ceiling at some stage in the future.

As the school was also involved in a new build project, the architect was asked to recommend actions to address the problems in the hall and he recommended Ecophon based on previous success with the company’s products.

Following discussions with three contractors put forward by Ecophon, Ceiling and Interiors from Tamworth recommended carrying out the work with Ecophon Super G and using Alpha A. Super G was chosen on its own grid system to suit the lighting and to avoid tiles being dislodged by the ball games during PE lessons.

“The company did a superb job, starting on a Tuesday morning and being finished by late on Friday. They made project managing the work very easy for me, cleaned up everything and even re-hung the curtains. When it was done some of the children actually thought they were having problems with their ears because the sound level was so different afterwards! The people who work in the nearby community office and those who work in the school kitchen have noticed the reduction in noise level, which used to be dreadful, has now improved greatly,” says The Bursar at Wrens Nest Primary, Elaine Pugh.

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