The addition of a sustainable new classroom to this small rural school was driven by local initiative and involved many people from the local community.
Lanlivery is a small village in the middle of Cornwall, near to Bodmin and set in moorland. Although one of the largest parishes in the area, it is also one of the smallest with around 500 residents. However, the population has risen steadily over the last 25 years, and the school population doubled from around 30 a decade ago to about 60 now.
The primary school is an attractive granite building, mainly originating from 1877 with a recent small toilet extension. It is located prominently in the centre of the village and adjacent to the Grade 1 listed church, which dates from the 14th century. The school originally provided only two classrooms, but an anticipated growth in school numbers convinced the Governors of the need for a third. Apart from the population growth locally, the conversion of the old schoolhouse into a pre-school group was also creating an increase in demand for schooling within the village. However, the County Council were unconvinced that pupil numbers would increase, so the school used its own initiative to fund an extension. The Governors looked at a variety of options, including pre-fabricated mobiles and extensions to the existing building, but decided that a new detached classroom would offer the best value. Inspired by the new Eden Centre in nearby St Austell, they aspired to a building that would be an exemplar of sustainability and be in keeping with the rural nature of the location. In particular, the Chair of Governors had considerable experience in the design and construction of ‘green’ buildings.
The school therefore planned and built a new classroom, linked to the existing school building. It is a timber framed building, with a number of sustainability features. A variety of stakeholders within the local community as well as school were involved in the development of the design, and many remained involved throughout the construction period.
Since mainstream funding was not available from the County Council, the school used its devolved capital funding accumulated over several years, and obtained ‘Seed Challenge’ funds from the County, amounting to around £50,000. Over £20,000 was raised by the school itself, partly in cash and partly as a loan from the County Council. Voluntary labour to a value of about £20,000 was donated by people in the local community, in the form of specific expertise as well as help with construction.
The project was initiated in late 2001, and completed in June 2003 after only 16 weeks on site. It was awarded the RICS national Sustainability Award in 2004.
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