- St Albans, Hertfordshire
- St Albans High School For Girls
- Initiatives In Design
St Albans High School for Girls had no room for expansion on its main site. An office building was purchased in nearby Wheathampstead and converted to new accommodation for the junior school. Despite planning delays, the classrooms were completed on time, using a two-stage approach allowing the contractor to be appointed early and join the design team.
Wheathampstead House was originally a dwelling, set in 18 acres of gardens. It was converted into an air-conditioned office in the 1980s, complete with central lift core, partitioned offices and a raised floor with extensive data and electrical cabling. It has now been turned into a Junior House.
Natural ventilation and radiator heating were preferred to a fully air conditioned, sealed building with high running costs. Cooling equipment was removed, the windows refurbished and the radiator heating modified to suit the new layout. Radiators are encased where the youngest children are taught.
Schools have more washing facilities than an office, and need more hot water water and drainage. The new hot water system uses a plate heat exchanger. Initial planning avoided major changes on the lowest floor so that the concrete floors did not have to be cut for new drainage.